‘We have somebody that we can turn to that will support us’: Hawkins Co. native assisting people in dire situations at all hours of the day

Community Heroes

HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — When Hawkins County residents are in a dire situation, they know they can count on Jason Murrell and his fleet of more than 30 paramedics.

In this week’s Community Heroes feature, we take you to Church Hill where a longtime paramedic puts others before himself.

“If it’s 3 AM and he gets a call, he still goes to it. It doesn’t matter how much sleep her gets. He still goes to everything and helps his crews even though he doesn’t have to,” Jason’s daughter, Bailee Russell told Pheben Kassahun.

Bailee said her father has completed even the most gruesome missions.

“He does things that some people would never do in their lives,” Bailee said, “He’s seen things like people who cut their heads open and stuff, he’s seen things, like, some people could never.”

The Hawkins County EMS director is known for his calm and respectful demeanor, putting in just as much work as his crew.

“Very polite, kind. He takes care of us. Anything we need, he makes sure we have it,” Hawkins County EMS paramedic supervisor Wayne Elm said.

Paramedic David Benton said, “In the day that we live in with the pandemic and everything, that’s hard. We have somebody that we can turn to that will support us in everything; in our personal lives, and on the ambulance, which means a lot of everybody.”

However, Murrell’s rise to Hawkins County EMS director did not happen overnight. The Hawkins County native has 22 years of emergency service experience under his belt.

“All my life, my father was a paramedic and we worked in the fire department in Rogersville. My mom was a nurse, so I’ve been pretty much destined to be in emergency services or health care,” Murrell said.

Since Murrell took over as director four years ago, he has been able to bring in several grants and new equipment so that the department can better assist the people of Hawkins County.

“The best part about this job is knowing that you’re able to help someone. I don’t get out on the streets as much as I once did but it’s nice to hear the crews come back and talk about making a difference in someone’s life,” Murrell said.

Averaging out to more than 60 hours a week, Murrell said the job is demanding, but the reward of saving lives with a great team is what continues his grind.

Benton said, “He won’t ask you to do something that he won’t do. We all know that he’s done the same thing. He knows the thing that we deal with on a daily basis, especially in a pandemic. He supports us fully through that but he is able to supervise as well.”

“He’s there- COVID or not, he’s there by our side,” Elm said.

And that is why he is our community hero.

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