After more than 40 years, Paris EMS Director Kent Klinkerman hangs up his stethoscope for the last time as he announces his retirement come the middle of November.
Klinkerman has worked for Paris EMS since 1979 when the city of Paris took over McCuistion’s EMS. He started with McCuistion Regional Medical Center’s EMS in May 1979, and Paris took charge in September of the same year.
In 1979, Klinkerman worked as an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic; transitioned to an EMT-Advanced in 1981; and became a paramedic in 1985.
“I was looking for a job that would be interesting and challenging. What I found was a career where a person can, on a daily basis, make a difference in a person’s life. I have been blessed to work with gifted medics who are dedicated to this calling,” Klinkerman said in regard to what influenced his interest in the EMT field. “Everybody that I have worked with over the years have had the same goal – improve the EMS system in order to provide better patient care. That focus includes all areas of training, equipment, supplies, vehicles and medical direction.”
For those looking toward a career as a paramedic, Klinkerman said the job can be demanding – mentally, emotionally and physically.
“Take the EMT-Basic course and start work on an ambulance,” Klinkerman suggested. “You will either love it or hate it. There is not much in between. Find something away from EMS that you love as a break from the stress.”
He has been a crew member, crew chief, shift supervisor, assistant director and director.
Paris City Manager Grayson Path, who has worked with Klinkerman for but a short time, said it has been a privilege to work alongside him.
“I have only had the opportunity to work with him since April, but I have been greatly impressed with his knowledge, skills, and the work product that I have seen,” Path said. “He has been a key part of both the formation and successful operation of our Paris EMS Department and IT Department, faithfully serving the community for many years and doing a great job at it. We are going to miss having him on our team.”
Path said he and Klinkerman will work closely to find an interim EMS Director to “help carry the operations forward until I can find a more permanent solution.”
“Unfortunately, this interim position will continue for several months as I’m currently working to fill a few other positions at this time,” Path said.
At this time, Paris is still without a police chief and a fire chief. Paris Fire Chief Larry Wright announced his retirement back in September 2018, and Police Chief Bob Hundley announced his in July 2020.