Time Magazine cover features New Paltz Rescue EMT veteran Alanna Badgley

(Photo by Brandon Reeves)

“We are being asked to risk our lives for something. I feel like I was picked up. »

– Alanna Badgley, 28, paramedic serving Westchester County

This is the quote on the cover of the April 9 edition of Time magazine. It belongs to the woman who is pictured on the same cover, wearing a medical mask, looking both focused and exhausted – but that’s all we can read in her eyes, cast downward.

“I think I was listening to a dispatch call when they took this photo,” said Alanna Badgley, a New Paltz High School graduate and longtime New Paltz Rescue Squad volunteer. “But I didn’t know I was going to be on the cover. It really caught me off guard. If you know me, I’m not someone who likes to be in the spotlight.

It comes from a woman who is on the front lines of the Covid 19 battle, picking up, treating and transporting patients from what was the original epicenter of the virus in New York State: New Rochelle. “They [Time Magazine] called me because I’m the president of our local union,” International Association of Ambulance and Paramedics Chapter 20 explained, Badgley explained.

“The reporter wanted to take a ride with me to see what a day in the life was like, but he wasn’t sure.” Instead, Badgley allowed the reporter to travel with her during her flying car shift, where she drives an SUV and serves as a back-up for the ambulance.

“Our company is Empress EMS. Its structure is very similar to Mobile Life that we created by New Paltz. His company serves New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Yonkers, all of which have been hit hard by the novel coronavirus.

“It’s been non-stop,” she said, “but this week I feel like it’s slowed down a bit. I’m afraid to even say that. Asked what has been the hardest part of serving on the front line of this highly contagious and deadly virus, Badgley replied: “There are really two elements: there is the medical side of things, and it has been difficult because we do not understand what virus. That’s why they call it the “new” coronavirus: because it’s new to us. We’re learning things every day and finding out how it manifests and what to look for and sharing stories about them. with each other, so that we can better understand this.

“And then there is the psychological component. I think the hardest part for me is when families realize they can’t go in the ambulance with their loved one; that they will not be able to visit them in hospital; so they won’t see them for a long time. Badgley said these moments are fraught with fear, anxiety and crippling sadness. “All we can do is try to comfort them and let them know that we will do everything we can to take care of their loved one.”

According to Badgley, it was ironically refreshing to be with a reporter for the day, because “I got to talk to someone who wasn’t a paramedic, doctor or patient. This hasn’t happened in what seems like a long time!

The paramedic also thinks her time with New Paltz Rescue helped prepare her in a way that she constantly thinks about right now. “I started working for New Paltz Rescue in 2011. Even when I was going to undergrad at Wesleyan, I would come home and work weekends and work with them over the summer. Their leadership and professionalism taught me a lot. They laid the groundwork for me. And I try to bring that sense of community to my work here. Yes, we’re in a much more densely populated area, and I don’t have those longer drives to get to know patients like I did in New Paltz; but i really try to connect and build relationships, even if i have less time to do so. It’s an essential part of what we do.

Badgley worked as a paramedic for New Paltz for several years, then decided to enroll at St. John’s University to become a paramedic. She moved to Yonkers. “I still work as a paramedic in New Paltz, but I don’t have as many shifts as I would like because it’s my home,” she said. “There’s a real ‘We’re in this together’ camaraderie that they’ve achieved that helps you get through the tough times.”

These are tough times, and Badgley said she feels the story reflects what they’ve been through. “It took me a long time to realize that the photo I was looking at was actually on the cover of the magazine! I couldn’t make up my mind. And then it was time to get back to work.

From the class of 2009 to the cover of Time: Masks to you, Alanna Badgley.

Amanda P. Whitten