GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Life EMS Ambulance celebrated one of its largest graduating classes Thursday night in the midst of a paramedic shortage.

A total of 20 paramedics graduated, 19 of whom are employed at Life EMS and will be serving communities throughout West Michigan.

“What helps us sleep at night now, through the shortage of personnel in health care in general, is you’ve got a lot of people coming in through our classes,” Mark Meijer, the president of Life EMS, said. “The 20 that are graduating tonight couldn’t be a better example of real high-quality EMTs.”

Elyzabeth Martinez with her father, Joaquin Martinez, as a baby.
Elyzabeth Martinez with her father, Joaquin Martinez, as a baby. (Courtesy Elyzabeth Martinez)

One of the people who graduated is Elyzabeth Martinez, a 19-year-old who comes from a family of first responders. Her father, Joaquin Martinez, is a Grand Rapids Fire Department captain; her grandfather, Pablo Martinez, is a retired fire investigator.

She’s already done something that neither of them have done on the job.

“I was lucky enough to be able to deliver a baby in the field, which is obviously something that we never want to have to do but we are trained for it in the case that it does happen. When I went to call and tell (my father) about it the fire crew had already told him,” Elyzabeth Martinez said.

“I’ve never done it in 20 years of being on the fire department, never delivered a baby. Want to. I want to have that experience and she’s, I don’t know, 15 minutes on the rigs and she’s already (delivered a baby),” her father joked.

Elyzabeth Martinez’s father and grandfather say they couldn’t be more proud.