I met Kevin Przybyl on my tour of the Lancaster Volunteer Ambulance station in 1999. I had been accepted as a member a few hours earlier and was waiting for my EMT card to arrive in the mail. Kevin was an EMT-I and a line officer, and a few months later he became a paramedic at age 20. Kevin also had cystic fibrosis and died last week at age 37.
Kevin was one of my mentors. He also worked at Twin City Ambulance, which was one reason I applied to work there instead of the other paid service in western New York. On my first night shift I had a difficult time with a preceptor, and the little confidence I had was shot. Kevin happened to be dispatching that night and talked me through it.
Kevin was tough. His big personality more than made up for his small stature, which earned him the nickname “Bubba.” Kevin was never shy about saying how he really felt about something, occasionally to his detriment. He never got any special treatment; our territory included the city of Buffalo where a single ambulance was sent on a lot of calls. We had two man stretchers at the time and he never asked for assistance lifting.
We lost touch after I moved away from Buffalo and reconnected over Facebook. I learned that he got married, had a family and moved to Florida. He chartered fishing trips at Disney and had gotten out of EMS. Kevin had a lung transplant in 2013. He reached out to me about two years ago to ask about study guides to get back into EMS. I was thrilled for him and for the WNY EMS community. He and his family moved back to Buffalo and he returned to work for paid ambulance service, dispatched for a police department and volunteered as a firefighter.
There is a Breathe Easy Przybyl Family GoFundMe Page for funeral expenses and for his family.
Kevin spent his life serving his community, and I am lucky to have known him as a friend and mentor.