Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Happening Now

Clay EMS Starts New Tradition Honoring Director

Clay County EMS hopes May 12 can serve as “Jimmy Philpott Day” every year, honoring the department’s late director who started things some 50 years ago.

Clay County EMS Director Andy Hall said Philpott was a Clay County native who worked as an EMT in the county before it even had an EMS department. He said Philpott was a mentor to everyone in the department and a fixture in the community. The May 12 date signifies Philpott’s radio number, 512, which has since been retired.

“We rely on these people,” Hall said. “We see them more than our families most of the time and we go through bad stuff with them, and there’s always a post you lean on. Jimmy was one of those. Always rock solid. Never had to worry about if you needed someone to talk to. He was there.”

He said Philpott’s impact is evident within the department and throughout the Clay County community, full of residents eager to tell stories about the man affectionately known as “Poppy.”

Jimmy Philpott Day fell on Mother’s Day this year, but Hall said he hopes to orchestrate annual celebrations going forward.

“Jimmy Philpott, he’s been there so long that, if he ain’t seen it all, then it ain’t happened yet, you know what I mean?” Hall said. “He’s just, anything, any situation, he was easy to talk to. Any situation you went through, he’d have some advice on it.”

Hall said in the 1970s, Philpott worked with a funeral home, taking people to hospitals in hearses before the county had an official EMS department. He said he then served as the department’s first director. Hall said he has been with the department for 25 years and nearly every work memory he holds close includes Jimmy Philpott.

“EMS, it’s a close-knit family, and if we can’t remember the people that we work with and stuff like that, Jimmy’s just one of those ones that everybody knew,” Hall said. “Everybody worked with at some point.”

He said job security has changed the family-oriented culture that existed in most EMS departments for many years. He said Philpott, or Poppy, brought the members of the department closer and brought the department closer to the rest of the Clay County community.

Share