Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

April 12, 2011 at 3:45am

446 Reservist turns wheels for a good cause

Locked and loaded for the workout of a lifetime, Air Force Senior Airman Tamie Zabroski, a medical technician with the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, McChord Field, Wash., readies for the 2010 National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Bike Ride ev

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MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.  -- The number 600 could just be a lucky one for the road. It's the number of miles clocked going from Seattle to Olympia, Wash., 10 times in a day. It's the namesake of the "Coca-Cola 600," the longest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. 

Coincidentally, it's the exact number of miles Senior Airman Tamie Zabroski, a Reservist with the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, plans to cover during the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Bike Ride Inc., to celebrate the men and women of America's Emergency Medical Services. The grueling seven-day race starts May 14, 2011 in Boston, Mass., and finishes in Washington, D.C. 

Airman Zabroski rode her first EMS Memorial Bike Ride in 2009 after hearing an EMS national conference speaker challenge attendees on their knowledge of the event. The volunteer firefighter with East Pierce Fire and Rescue Department said she wanted to get out of her comfort zone and be part of something bigger than herself. "I remembered telling my friend, 'I'm doing this ride'," said Airman Zabroski. "And the more I found out about it, the more intrigued I got by the community side of the EMS profession."

Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Jones, 446th ASTS health services manager, praised Airman Zabroski's positive attitude, and said her passion and heart for humanity, combined with her experiences as an EMT/firefighter will take her to great heights as a medical technician. 

"She is not the type of person to be intimidated or back down from a challenge," said Sergeant Jones. "I can definitely envision her as a future leader at the 446th ASTS. Her natural drive to help others is not a quality you can teach. There is no question that her business in life is helping others in need."

Airman Zabroski, who works for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, is currently the only Washingtonian registered for this year's race. She will ride to honor firefighter Matt Durham, a Woodinville, Wash., resident who lost his life Dec. 30, 2010, battling cancer that was a direct result of his work as an EMT/firefighter. 

"It [the ride] is one of the most emotional times of my life," said Airman Zabroski. "I've never personally lost anyone in this business, but most of the people who ride have. The ride helps give closure to those who've lost loved ones." 

The Reservist said the previous rides have been life-changing for her and the dedication, loyalty and camaraderie she witnessed in them reminded her of being part of the military and played a big part in her decision to re-enlist into the Air Force Reserve in July 2010. 

"Getting on the bike, meeting people all over the world, and sharing similar views makes me feel connected to the military life," said Airman Zabroski. "And like the military, the bike ride extends itself beyond what I can see." 

For more information on the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, click on muddyangels.org/?category_name=boston-dc

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