Community Heroes: Carter County paramedic known for giving unmatched patient care to community in year filled with COVID-19

Community Heroes

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — He is able to make hard decisions in a fast-moving environment, and his unwavering service to the community has made him this week’s community hero.

Meet Brian Tanner.

“He’s one of the best paramedics I’ve seen in a long time. He takes care of his patients very well,” Carter County EMS captain and rescue coordinator John Burleson said.

It is not every day you come across someone like Tanner.

“I admire his integrity and his honesty. He will always move forward with you and won’t leave you hanging out to dry,” Burleson said.

The paramedic lieutenant for Carter County EMS has served the county for the last 14 years.

“I got into EMS because I had a cousin who was a volunteer firefighter. His mom was always one of my babysitters when I was a kid. I’d be in the house and his pager would go off and he’d be running off,” Tanner said.

However, his will to serve began prior to his move to Northeast Tennessee. Tanner is a former armored cavalry platoon leader for the West Virginia Army National Guard. He served between 1987 and 1997. He was also a supply officer and company commander. He said he joined because he was highly influenced by close friends, who were in the military.

He also provided urgent care to West Virginians for more than a decade.

“We’re blessed to have him with us,” Burleson said.

Burleson says Tanner almost never misses a day to aid his community members, even in the midst of the uncertain times that blanketed our nation and the world.

Being a first responder, Tanner and his team came in contact with the virus every day and had to pick up extra shifts when the community needed extra help.

“Having to wear a gown and two pair of gloves, and a shield over your face, plus a mask and it being 90 degrees and 100% humidity, those got to be some long calls, especially when you’re having to lift and carry people out of houses,” Tanner said. “Staying healthy, keeping the ambulance in a sanitary environment like that, keeping it decontaminated, that was probably one of the biggest challenges.”

Knowing he was making a difference in his community is what brought him back to work, each and every day.

“The most fulfilling thing about this job is when you can actually help people,” Tanner said.

Congratulations, Brian Tanner, this week’s community hero!

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