EMT Michael J. Latta
Patriot Ambulance #33
Last Call: April 26, 2007
Although his passion for being an EMT was unbelievable we could tell it was not enough for Mike. He always wanted more. Mike wanted to become a paramedic so he could learn even more and help more people and in fact before he died he had filled out the applications to begin paramedic school that fall. We never doubted that Michael would not make an incredible Paramedic, now to find students who will bring the same passion, dedication, and work-ethic to the field of emergency medicine will bring honor to his name and in part fulfill his dreams.
Ever since Mike was a little boy, he always had to be doing something. When Mike graduated from high school, he was teaching Taekwondo, working at the family business, Lifeguarding at a local summer camp, and this still wasn’t enough action. After high school Mike enrolled in UMass Lowell’s business program, understanding how important continuing his education was. However, after only a year in the program Mike realized that he wanted to do something with his life that would help others.
In 2006 he enrolled in the EMT program at Northern Essex Community College, as well as starting his own plowing company, Latta Property Management. A month before classes began Mike had already read half of his class manual, despite the fact that he had severe dyslexia that required him to spend hours pouring over the pages. He did whatever it took to understand the information that he was reading, even if it required him to call his older sisters (who were attaining their degrees in physical therapy and biology) to explain material that he did not understand. He never let his dyslexia stand in the way of what he wanted to do; his sense of humor about his struggles was a pivotal part of who he was.
During his time at NECC, Mike constantly practiced his skills on willing friends and family. Whether it was taking his sister’s blood pressure in the car while she was driving to ensure he could hear while under pressure, or ace wrapping a family member’s entire body, Mike jumped at every opportunity to practice what he was learning. He had such enthusiasm for every aspect of the field.
Mike easily passed his EMT licensing test and began working almost immediately for Patriot Ambulance in Lawrence, MA. He went head first into the job; his co-worker explained at his funeral:
“Clearly Mike did not have a typical first day on the job. Without a day of on the job training under his belt, and before Mike even had a proper uniform, he was picked up by our communications supervisor and taken into a large MCI. It was Warped Tour 2006. Ten thousand people were on a hot tar mat at an airport in 100+ degree weather. That day Patriot Ambulance treated over 200 patients and transported 68 patients to hospitals. Mike without hesitation jumped into the situation and showed his strong aptitude for emergency medicine.”
When Mike came home that night his passion for emergency medicine was forever cemented in our minds…because from that day on his stories never stopped!
A week after Mike earned his certificate he asked his former instructor if she needed any help teaching, and she said yes. He never missed a class both on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he was scheduled to teach the night he passed away. Mike loved being able to share his experiences and his knowledge of the profession he was so proud of. Learning for Mike was all about practical application as soon as he learned something new he would begin to teach others. He was so excited when one of his students understood difficult concepts through his mentorship.
Working for Patriot was never a job for Mike, he loved being there so much that he picked up two twenty-four hour shifts so he would be able to work when ever else he was needed. He especially loved his Saturday twenty-four hour shift, because that is where all of the action was. His co-workers noted many aspects of his character in their tribute of Mike:
“He would arrive at work a half hour early to assure the crew before him had relief…Mike would always manage to assume patient care even when it wasn’t his turn, this is only one of the many examples of the dedication and love Mike had for his work…Among Mike’s strongest qualities was his sense of work ethic. An essential to being a good EMT is a dedication to continued education and self-improvement, Mike committed himself to learning from his senior partners as he experienced new and challenging experiences. This was not to say, however, that Mike required significant guidance. He was a person with a natural talent for medicine, who was able to provide a high level of care from his first day on the job.”
Written by Micheal’s family… May he rest in peace.