No Matter what Margaret Bridges does, she does it with every hair in place, whether it’s CPR or cleaning an ambulance windshield. On October 27, she retired after 36 years of service and , yes, every hair was in place.
Margaret Bridges went to work as an EMT at Cypress Creek EMS on August 1, 1980. She always wanted to be a paramedic, but she was told that she was too small. Then, she applied for Houston’s program run by the University of Texas Health Science Center and was turned down for another reason. Margaret says, “they didn’t think women could be firefighters or paramedics.”
Every time she was turned down, she applied again. Margaret says, “they finally called over here and talked to our acting director Bill Kennedy and Bill said you might as well let her in because she’s not going to give up.” Margaret says there were two other women in that class. She says one was a dispatcher whom they had to let in and the other one was named Leslie whom they thought was a man until she arrived for class. Those three were the first women to graduate from that paramedic program. That was in 1981. It had taken her a year and a half to get into the program.
She says Cypress Creek EMS was ahead of it’s time when it came to hiring female medics. Indeed, looking through our archives shows that CCEMS had its first all-female ambulance team in 1977.
When CCEMS was founded in 1975 CCEMS, volunteers who handled the night shift were mostly men who had day jobs. CCEMS paid Harris County Emergency Corps to cover the day shift and handle dispatch. When CCEMS split with HCEC in 1977, many women volunteered to cover days. In fact, Margaret says in those days shift change was at 9 am, so the women had time to get their kids off to school and their husbands off to work before coming to work themselves.CCEMS also hired more women at that time. Now, women make up 43% of the workforce. That number was reduced by one today.
Margaret plans to do volunteer work in retirement taking care of injured Wildlife at the Wildlife Center of Texas and taking care of newborn babies as part of a Rockin’ Grandmother program at one of the hospitals, which literally involves rocking babies to sleep and she’s really good at that.
Here’s a look at Margaret’s last day at Cypress Creek EMS.
Thanks for your many years of faithful service to the people who live in the Cypress Creek EMS coverage area.