VOICES OF DAVIDSON
HOMETOWN HEROES: Nee Nee Cormier
Tell me about your day job.
I am currently a Lieutenant with the Davidson Fire Department and in charge of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division. I also serve as a Firefighter/EMT with the Fire Department. A typical day is never the same twice. I usually work a 12-hour day and/or 14 hour night shifts. We respond to all fire and medical emergencies that occur in the Town of Davidson. These range from a fire alarm to a fully involved structure fire, as well as medical calls for everything from abdominal pain to a cardiac arrest. So, you can see, no two days are alike. In addition to responding to calls, we actively train for potential hazardous or dangerous situations, perform pre-plans, test fire hose, wash apparatus and give station tours, etc. Of course, with COVID-19, our station tours have ceased. And somehow, in between all of that, we try to find time to cook and eat a hot meal…usually we get interrupted and end up with a cold supper, but we don’t mind.
How did you uncover this passion?
Approximately 18 years ago, my husband and I walked in to the fire station and inquired about volunteering. We completed the required training to become firefighters/EMTs and have been with the department since then. We joined because being Town of Davidson residents since 1995, we felt like we wanted to give back to our community. At that time, it was 100% volunteer. Since then, we have transitioned to a volunteer/paid component, and eventually an all paid department. We have seen many changes in the fire department in our years and feel this is the best this department has been since its inception. We love making a difference. It is rewarding and humbling to know you are helping people with what could possibly be the worst day of their life.
What inspires you every day?
I think what inspires me every day is my desire to help. I love that I can make a difference in someone’s life. It can be as simple as changing a battery in your smoke detector to helping you after you have sustained a fall.
What are your challenges and speed bumps along the way?
Certainly, 2020 has been one of our biggest challenges! COVID-19 has been a true strain on everyone. We can no longer offer station tours and invite our little ones to tour the fire apparatus. We must “suit up” with our personal protective equipment for practically every call we respond to. Everything we do, we must be mindful of wearing our PPE, social distancing, and impeccable hand hygiene. Our noses are sore from constant N-95 wear, and our hands are dry and cracked from all the hand washing. However, we abide by the recommendations and follow the protocols we have in place to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Secrets to staying motivated and positive?
It is not difficult to stay motivated and positive when you see the impact you have on helping people. That is the biggest motivating factor! The trucks are pretty fun, too!
How can Davidson residents best support you?
Davidson residents can best support us by being safe. Please stay home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Please do not text while driving and avoid distractions when behind the wheel. Change your smoke detector batteries, as needed. These are all ways that help you help us. They can further help us by pulling over when they see emergency vehicles responding with lights and sirens. As always, we enjoy the enthusiastic waves from the children, and we always appreciate the notes, cards, posters, and goodies that are delivered to the fire station. We truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness.
My passion for caring began when I decided to be a nurse. I completed my BSN in 1988 and my MSN in 1993. I furthered my advanced practice nursing career as I became a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) in 1993. I have worked at Atrium Health University City Anesthesia Department since 1999. I have been married to my high school sweetheart (who is also a firefighter on the Davidson Fire Department!) since 1990. I have two sisters and three brothers. My husband and I raised my three younger brothers when my parents passed away in 1994. We have lived in Davidson since 1994 and two of my brothers attended Davidson College. We enjoy living in Davidson and everything it has to offer. Most of all, we enjoy making a difference and helping our community!
Andrea Nordstrom Caughey
Andrea Nordstrom Caughey is a magazine editor and lifelong writer who hit the jackpot moving to Davidson from California.