Story by Charles Renolds, Pike County Conservative Examiner:
There are many inspirational Americans out there. People who give of themselves without expecting anything in return. People who try, in whatever way they are capable, to make a difference in the world, a difference within their community, or just a difference in one other person’s life.
Diane Mayoros-Quinones more than fits the bill of an inspirational American. She would no doubt shun the spotlight this piece may put on her, being a very low key person who does not think that what she does is all too inspirational.
Diane, like most Americans, even most people around the globe, has her personal story that would either make you feel sad to hear or make you grumpy and say that there are lots of people going through hard times. But this is not about her personal story – the fibromyalgia, the sore economic troubles, the constant migraines, the house in need of repairs, the overladen debt of bills piling up – no, this is about what she does despite going through what so many are these days.
People often shake their head and ask how she can be in such good spirits all the time. She would just brush it away and say “I have my moments.” But that doesn’t matter to the people she interacts with daily. All they see is someone who never grumbles or growls or complains. They see a woman dedicated to making other people’s lives better.
Literally. Her efforts every day affect countless lives.
Diane drives an ambulance and is an EMT for Pike County Advanced Life Support (Pike ALS). She could drive for a “for profit” service and make more money. But it is the ability to help the desperate, people the ambulance service sees every day. People who can’t afford it, but need it. She works tirelessly, 12 hours a shift, four shifts a week. For 48 hours every week, the people in eastern Pike County know that they will get the absolute best care possible. Where other EMTs would scratch their heads at how to help an overly large patient out of their house and to the hospital, Diane dives and and does it. Where other ambulance drivers may hesitate in hazardous weather, Diane smoothly goes forward. All knowing that people are counting on her. In many cases, with their lives.
Many would be content to work their shift and take leisure time for themselves. Diane, however, is not most people. She has a second job that begins to put her up in that inspirational region. Two days a week, she drives nearly an hour to help take care of an elderly couple. For several hours each day, she cleans, cooks, does laundry, monitors their health and often performs those delicate tasks most people not only shun but rarely discuss.
Some would say fine and go on with their day. Yet she does not stop there, doing the tasks she is minimally paid to do. She will engage them to the point that she knows what types of snack they enjoy and buys them for them, in order to make sure they eat (which many elderly are prone not to do). She knows what makes them happy, often providing flowers or puzzle books or whatever to bring a little more joy into their lives. She has even cooked meals at home, which she pays for out of her own pocket and generosity, to bring to her charges simply because they may mention that they enjoy that type of food and haven’t had any in a while.
After paying for the gas to get there and all the extra expenses, like food and decorations and flowers, the money she earns barely covers it. So one wonders why she does it. Her answer would be something akin to ‘because someone needs to.’
As exhausting as this all may sound, it is not the end of this incredibly giving woman.
She has a couple who live in her neighborhood, who have health issues that often rely on her assistance to do some of the most mundane things. Sometimes rides may be needed to a doctor. Sometimes it is simply getting the mail that is challenging. Or the odd thing around the house that needs looking after. Another neighbor is away from home for long periods. Diane keeps an eye on the property, even clearing downed trees and cleaning up after the odd bear or two decides to ‘play’ with the trashcans. For all her efforts here, there is no pay. She does it, as she would put it, “to be a good neighbor.”
On her spare time at home, she also volunteers several nights a week with the Milford Fire Department, an all volunteer service. She lends her EMT skills to emergencies, no matter the time of night (or day, as in some cases she is needed in order for the ambulance to get out). The duties of the fire department volunteers do not stop with simply responding to calls, however. She works bingo, fundraisers, is expected to maintain a continuing education (as is also required for her job with Pike ALS).
As if this were not enough to fill her time and attention, Diane is never one to say no to family in need. She helps out her ex-husband who struggles with cancer, helps her daughter (whose deadbeat ex provides nothing) with her own two little ones, and even took in her out of work disabled brother when he had nowhere else to turn. Add to this, her donations to Red Cross, the myriad of charities she cannot say no to, her additional commitments to fundraisers and such for Pike ALS.
Diane also studied and graduated from Paramedic classes and is in the process of getting licensed.
For all of her selfless volunteerism, her boundless compassion for others, her dedication to making other people’s live a little better, her concern for those in need in her community, the inspiration she provides that gave her daughter and brother the impetus to also volunteer their time with Milford’s EMS services – and for all the people, who every day see her smiling, calm and dedicated efforts in even the most life threatening situations and take comfort – this amazing woman not only has my respect and that of so many who know her, she is indeed an Inspirational American.
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