Longtime Deer-Grove EMS member Tom Miles’ retirement was celebrated Oct. 25 by a small, in-person group due to Covid-19.

But many more EMS and community members shared their congratulations and thanks in a pre-recorded video shown during the short ceremony at the Deerfield Fire and EMS Station.

“Some people spend their lives wondering if they made a difference,” one EMS member said in the video. “In EMS, you know you’ve made a difference.”

“No one ever questions your commitment,” another EMS member said. “You are a shining example of what it means to give back.”

Thirty years after joining Deer-Grove EMS in October 1990, Miles ran his last volunteer shift on Oct. 25 at an advanced EMT.

“Tom has had a very large impact on this community,” Deer-Grove EMS Chief Eric Lang said, as he presented Miles with his helmet and a variety of awards, including a Covid-19 award that’s being given to all EMS members who have served during the pandemic. Miles was also recognized for delivering three babies while on duty in his years with Deer-Gove.

His service extends beyond the EMS, including as the former director of the Deerfield Community Center and in his current job as a registered nurse at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison.

In brief remarks, Miles thanked members of the EMS, including “all of the people I have worked with in the past who have come and gone.”

And he thanked his wife, Kathy, and two grown sons, whom he recalled bringing to the station as children. “Those are great memories I’ll take with me forever,” he said.

Now, he said, “it’s time” to be finished. “You’ve got to pick a time to go.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of you and what you’ve done over the years for this community… doing what’s most important for the betterment of this world,” Kathy Miles said in response.

In a 2017 interview, Miles said when he joined Deer-Grove EMS in 1990, he drove his own car to emergency scenes, meeting up with an ambulance. He hauled along a “jump bag” of supplies and equipment that he said far paled in their simplicity to today’s high-tech equipment.

While working a few blocks from the fire and EMS station as the community center director, Miles estimated he logged 150 hours a month volunteering as an EMT.

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