Please join us in honoring Andrew Rennie, the Emerald Asset Management, Inc. and Emerald Foundation Hometown Hero for the month of January! Andrew has been named the Emerald Hometown Hero for his distinguished service to Lancaster EMS as a Community Paramedic and for his long work history in educating and training the Lancaster EMS team. Andrew considers it a privilege to serve our community in ways that teach others about making the right decisions regarding healthcare and taking an interest in community outreach by serving in public health capacities.
1.) How long have you been in EMS & what is your current position @ Lancaster EMS?
I have been an EMS provider for 37 years. Currently, I serve as the Education Coordinator and a Community Paramedic.
2.) What made you become a part of EMS?
I was raised in a little coal-mining town in West-Central Pennsylvania called Cresson, PA. that is situated between Altoona and Johnstown. My mother and several other nurses started my hometown ambulance out of a local funeral home. My father was retired from the military and was serving as the Chief of Police. I was raised around emergency services.
3.) What is the most rewarding part of your job/position?
First and foremost is serving the citizens and visitors to our community. We have an awesome responsibility when we are called upon for help. Another rewarding part of my job / position is that I have had and continue to have a direct impact on the education of those that will someday replace me. Our future EMT’s and Paramedics need guidance and reassurance during these unprecedented times. My role as a Community Paramedic gives me the opportunity to assist a patient and / or a family in making good decisions regarding their healthcare and their life. We offer the education and tools needed for those less fortunate to strive and live happier and more productive lives as we help in closing the gaps and recognizing the social determinants of public health.
4.) What are your hobbies outside of work?
I would say my biggest hobby is my family, especially my grandchildren. Personally, I enjoy cooking. This year I ventured out and have started growing vegetables and herbs to use in my cooking.
5.) What is one interesting fact about you that no one may know?
When I was a senior in high school, before I moved to the Lancaster area, I was lucky enough to be selected to be in a movie that was being filmed in the home area. The Movie was called “All the Right Moves” starring Tom Cruise. I was also lucky to be permanently seated beside his co-star Lea Thompson. I also had the pleasure of interacting with and meeting actor Craig T. Nelson and the infamous Lucille Ball.
6.) What did you want to do while growing up?
When I was in grade school, my best friend and I were going to graduate and move to Montana and live our lives like Grizzly Adams in the wilderness. However, I always admired my parents and their running around in Police cars and Ambulances. I was an avid watcher of the infamous TV program “Emergency”. When I was 14, a classmate of mine suddenly died in gym class of sudden cardiac arrest while we were playing basketball. I stood there with everybody else including the teachers until the ambulance came. I was devastated. My mother drove me to the Altoona chapter of the American Red Cross where I became certified in CPR. At that point, I was hooked. From that point forward, all I ever wanted to be was a Paramedic.
7.) Tell me about your life..
I was born on December 19, 1965 at the “Dunham” Hospital on the grounds of the Carlisle Army War College. My father had just retired from the U. S. Army after 25 years of service. Once his retirement was finalized, we moved to back to his hometown (Cresson, Pa.). I was raised there. I attended Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. I attended the Admiral Peary Area Vo-Tech School for my EMT certification in 1983. After graduating from Bishop Carroll High School in 1984, I thought I wanted to go into nursing like my mother. I attended Mount Aloysius College for a year. I hated nursing school. After many hours of begging and pleading, my mother and father reluctantly agreed to allow me to go to Paramedic school. I was not permitted to attend the local Paramedic program in Johnstown, PA. My mother had to research schools. Ultimately, she found the Lancaster County Paramedic Training Institute at St. Joseph Hospital in Lancaster, Pa. After my Father and I drove to Lancaster and met with Bob Broome, I was permitted to attend. I am sure that was because the school was only “Catholic” institution that was accredited at the time. In August of 1985, I moved away from home and started going to school at St. Joe’s. Initially, I hated this area of the State. I think it was because I was in an unfamiliar area and had no family here. I learned a lot about not only Paramedicine, but about life as well. I was ready to move back home after graduation, then I met a girl from Lebanon. Within a few weeks I was engaged and got married.
I have been married for almost 35 years. Claire and I have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. The majority of my EMS career has been with the Good Samaritan Health System as a Paramedic and an Educator and the Penn State Hershey Medical Center as a Critical Care / Flight Paramedic. I came to Lancaster EMS in 2008 to help teach at the Paramedic Program. It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my career. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of being involved with Regional and State EMS Programs. I have applied myself and have gotten involved in policy and protocol decisions at the regional and state levels. I have also been fortunate enough to have delivered a total of 7 babies in my career. Some providers use EMS as a stepping stone into other careers such as nursing, PA and medicine. I have chosen to make EMS my career and love being involved in every aspect from street level patient care to education to critical care to agency administration. Besides my family, Emergency Medical Services defines me.
I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Administration and I am currently in the final semester of completing a Master of Art in Education from the University of Phoenix.
The Emerald Hometown Hero award was created in 2015 in partnership with Lancaster Barnstormers to recognize and honor outstanding individuals in our local community who have worked to make Lancaster and our world a better place through hard work, inspiration, sacrifice and leadership.