(Fremont County, WY) – Shoshoni resident Cody Woodward has provided emergency medical care in Fremont County for over two decades. Last week, she celebrated her retirement with friends and family.
“It’s bittersweet,” she shared with County 10 about retiring. “I’ve made lifelong friends that will always be family to me. They always say that the family you choose is always better than the family by blood. I believe that. I’ve got friends that don’t work in this field anymore, and we still are close. It truly is a second family.”
Cody grew up and graduated from high school in Meeteetse. When she was about seven years old, her parents became licensed EMTs and she followed in their footsteps. She recalled starting to run search and rescue calls with her mom and dad when she was 16.
Trading one small town for another, she moved to Shoshoni 30 years ago. There, she began working with the first responders through connections with a distant cousin.
“I actually put in the first eight years as a full volunteer with no pay,” Cody explained. “So, when I say ‘I put in blood, sweat, and tears,’ that was my pay.”
The advancements in medical equipment and medications while transporting patients have changed drastically over the years, noting when she started items such as a heart monitor were not available.
“Back then, if we saw certain things, it was ‘we need to go.’ We know this is bad, but we didn’t have a name for it; we didn’t have the science for it.
“These days, we can actually stop, think, take the time, and treat our patients. We can start the medical intervention before getting them to the hospital that is 20 to 30 minutes or more away.
“In some cases, if they’re on top of South Pass or in Dubois or something like that, we’re actually there, medically intervening with the problem before we ever get in the hospital, which is tremendous. It has changed the outcome for people in our community. We have more medication, we have more knowledge.”
Cody’s dedication to Fremont County residents is apparent in the amount of time she spent advancing her education and providing medical care to those in their time of need.
During her tenure, she achieved every level of EMT certification with the exception of a paramedic. She noted that the difference between the two levels is fairly minimal and at this point in her life she could not see spending $15,000 to go back to school.
“I’ve never stopped learning. I’ve spent more hours I think in a classroom than I have with my own children.”
In retirement, she is most looking forward to being with her family – spending holidays with them, visiting her grandchildren, spending time with her horses, and traveling among other things.
“I just pulled 128 hours this last week,” she explained. “This is not a job that stops for anybody or anything or any holiday or any event. I started this when my daughter was two. You give yourself to everybody and you miss a lot of your own.
“I’m not going to miss the 2 am call. I’m not going to miss running all day, 14-20 calls a day, and being up until 4 or 5 in the morning just to catch the charts up. I’m not going to miss that at all. The people and the family is what I’m gonna miss.”
Cody’s investment in the community is what has kept her in the field for so many years.
“You know, I’ve run as an ALS provider for approximately 16 years. And I’ve run it all and done it all and seen it all, and I’ve seen things that people shouldn’t see. People have always asked ‘why do you do this?’ Why? Because people don’t call us for birthday parties, people don’t call us for weddings, people call us when they’re having the worst day of their life. And we’re the ones that are going to make that difference. So, this is all a lot of heart for me and a lot of soul. I think a lot of that comes from growing up as I did, and I knew what I was getting into, I guess you could say.
“Just know that just because I’m leaving this job doesn’t mean I’m leaving my community. This is my home, this is my life still, and I’ll always be there to help.”
Thank you for your dedication, Cody! Enjoy retirement!