FARMINGTON – The families of emergency medical service workers gathered with the family of Allan Parsons on Thursday to affirm the caring, giving, humorous individual that he was.
“He would have liked nothing better than to put his arms around each of us here and help us through it,” said Pastor Don Davenport of the Wilton paramedic for whom most moments in life were spent caring for others.
As he lived, he also died, caring for a patient while on an ambulance transfer last Thursday morning when the ambulance collided with a pickup truck at Route 4 and Potato Road in Turner.
“How many can say, at the end of life, we died doing what we loved best?” Davenport asked.
He went on to describe Parsons not only as a genuine person with no pretense, but also as one who was always giving and caring and making a difference in the community where he lived.
Working in emergency medical services, Stephen Harrison of Monmouth Rescue said he got to know Parsons pretty well. He saw his colleague’s strength and caring and also his love of family and dedication to his profession. He had a “heck of a sense of humor,” Harrison said, and tried to find a way to make everyone happy.
“This is a severe tragedy, but positive will come out of this,” he said.
While ambulance crews, police and firefighters from across Maine gathered to show respect to the fallen emergency care provider, Rick Petrie of United Ambulance told them, “Allen would have been angry to have such a solemn event on his behalf. ” He went to to speak of the teasing and banter shared by Parsons and his co-workers.
“Whatever we say today is inadequate for what we feel in our hearts,” he said.
Dean Milligan of Med-Care Ambulance told Parson’s parents, John and Sally Parsons, that Thursday they would visibly see what Allan meant to others, but they would also feel what he did.
“We’re one complete and solid family,” he said, “as only we know what we do daily and what we sacrifice – the missed Christmases and birthdays, the cold meals and also saving someone’s life at 3 a.m. Why? Because it’s a calling that only we understand. … Allan knew.”
This would have been Parsons’ fifth anniversary of becoming a paramedic, Hugh Levasseur of Monmouth Rescue said. “He was dedicated to a fault.”
He went on to tell Parsons’ youngest son, Adam, “If you grow up to be half the man your father was, you’ll be a wonderful person.”
Remembering how his father loved a lot of people, Adam Parsons also remembered the man who took him fishing, hunting, camping and to several Boy Scout events. When he became overwhelmed and unable to finish, Pastor Davenport stepped in and with occasional humor finished Adam’s reading, ending with “my father was the best Dad anyone could have ever had.”
Daughter Amy Parsons said her dad was also her best friend, someone who was always there to make her laugh until her anger or sadness passed.
“His laugh was contagious,” she said, “and he loved to make people laugh.”
While this week had been the hardest of her life, she said, she kept thinking about what her father would say or do. She thought he would say, “Cheer up, smile and have a better day tomorrow.”
His oldest son, Josh Parsons, said he didn’t prepare a long speech – his father would have hated that. But he thanked everyone for being there and for showing their support, as his father did for him through a rough patch in his life.
Many spoke of the jokes and pranks they remembered Parsons played.
His sister, Patsy Milliken, shared an experience that reassured her he was still with them.
Last evening, she said, she went out to the car to retrieve something. It was late and dark and had been raining. They sky was nothing but clouds and darkness. She said she looked up and raised her hands toward heaven when first one shooting star, then another, raced across the sky in the opposite directions. She said she felt Allan saying, “Thank you for caring and for helping my family.”
After representatives from each department filed by and saluted, an honor guard escorted the casket out of the hall as a single bagpipe played. Two LifeFlight helicopters hovered above as the casket was placed into a Med-Care ambulance and left the fairgrounds.