CROWN POINT - Being an emergency medical technician is easy for Dave Hobbs.
"It's something I love doing immensely," he said. "It's a chance to help people. What could be better?"
Hobbs, who is a volunteer with the A.E. Phelps Fire and Rescue Company in Crown Point, has been named 2009 Basic Life Support Provider of the Year by the state Department of Health.
Hobbs was honored by the New York State Emergency Medical Services Council during a ceremony in Rochester Oct. 17.
"It was a tremendous surprise and is a great honor," Hobbs said of the award. "I'm excited for our department and our area. I appreciate the support of the Crown Point Fire District."
He is believed to be the first North Country EMS member to receive the state award.
The award goes annually to an EMS provider demonstrating dedication, responsibility, professional behavior, ingenuity and skill.
"In some communities certain people are synonymous with EMS," Edward Wronski, director of New York State Emergency Services, said. "They are the ones that respond to a lot of calls, leave equipment ready for the next emergency, teach new providers and care about the community they serve.
"For over 40 years Mr. David Hobbs has served his neighbors by responding to countless EMS requests for service," he added. "It does not matter the time of day or night, David is there, putting his patients first and giving them the best he has."
Hobbs began his EMS career in 1966 as a basic first aid responder in Malta. In 1968 he became an EMT and served in Malta 25 years before his family moved to Moriah. There he was a member of the Moriah Ambulance Squad before moving to Crown Point, where he has been an EMT the past seven years.
"Anyone who has been dedicated to EMS for as long as Dave has deserves more than just this award," said Matt Watts of the Ticonderoga Fire Department, who nominated Hobbs for the award.
"Dave has shown dedication to EMS for a very long time in all the different communities he has lived in. Crown Point and the surrounding communities greatly benefit from Dave answering all the calls that he does. Without him there would be a very large void in this area that would be very difficult to fill."
The Crown Point ambulance responded to 160 calls for help in 2008 with Hobbs along for 85 percent of the calls.
"We're short of EMTs and I'm generally available," Hobbs said. "I like to keep busy."
At age 72 Hobbs is grateful he's been able to help so many people. He's particularly proud of the five babies he's helped deliver.
"Every one has been a girl," he smiled. "I don't know what that's all about."
Watts said Hobbs provides much more than health care.
"Dave has a very good bedside manner with the patients; he knows how to talk to the patients and make them feel better about the situation they are in. He has a very calming affect on them," Watts said. "He has always been about putting patient care first; he always does what is best for the patient.
"I believe Dave has touched many lives and made a huge difference in all the patients he has had over the years," he continued. "His dedication goes beyond EMS, he also delivers meals on wheels as well as other volunteer work throughout his community."
The awards ceremony served as a family reunion for the Hobbs family. More than a dozen family members from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts made the trip to see him honored. "I had my entire family with me," he said. "It was a special night."