CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — March is Women’s History Month and organizations across central Illinois are celebrating some of the hard-working women across several communities.
That includes Carle Arrow Ambulance and paramedics Kayla Gussman and Kaitlin Stelter. The ambulance service is typically an industry dominated by men.
“When I walked into work this morning, I was asked to take a photo for Carle to post in a slideshow video,” Gussman said. “Then I watched the slideshow video and it was so amazing to see all the women here at Arrow and how strong they are and how amazing they do.”
Gussman has been a paramedic at Arrow for a year. She is one of 212 on staff, but part of a larger crew of women honored for International Women’s Day.
“It’s really awesome to be on a shift with so many female paramedics where we can come in, know that we’re the ones handling our trucks and our patients,” Gussman said.
Of the 212 Arrow staff members, 70, or 33%, are women. Kaitlin Stelter also works for the department, both in the air and on the ground for AirLife.
She believes her presence goes a long way.
“I love the autonomy, getting to provide care to my patients, even on their worst days and making a difference,” Stelter said.
She works alongside eight other people; three are women on the team.
Both Gussman and Stelter are happy to see the strides women have made in several industries.
“It’s really awesome that we’ve been able to come so far and start pushing these male dominated fields,” Gussman said.
“Don’t stop, buckle down and work hard,” Stelter said.
For Gussman, man or woman, the work they do in the community is always important.
“Regardless of gender, we all make a large impact here by going out every day, seeing all the patients,” Gussman said. “You never know what you’re going to walk into.”
Gussman started her paramedic career in St. Louis and has been in the industry for four years. Stelter originally wanted to be a physical therapist, but after attending several of her grandma’s chemo treatments, she decided that she wanted to be a nurse.