Southwick has new full-time paramedic

SOUTHWICK – Paramedic Neal Colburn was offered provisional fulltime employment May 21, helping close the Southwick Fire Department’s paramedic gap.

Neal has been working part-time for the past month and was approved full-time by the Select Board Thursday.

Colburn must pass he Physical Abilities Test, which was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Deputy Chief Richard Stefanowitz said Thursday that the PAT is slated to resume June 1, but a backlog is expected and Coburn will need to pass the test when he is able to take it.

Colburn was interviewed during the Select Board’s zoom public meeting Thursday. In addition, Select Board members Russell Fox, Joseph Deedy and Douglas Moglin all met Colburn separately last week.

During the interview Colburn was asked a series of questions. The first was why he wanted to work in Southwick.

“I’d heard it’s a great department and a good group of people,” said Colburn, adding that he found that was true.

Colburn was asked his view of the difference in the chain of command during an emergency versus every day. He said during an emergency, the chain depends on who responds and who is on site. Under non-emergency circumstances, Colburn said he would follow the normal chain of command.

When asked how he would handle taking orders from a supervisor with whom he does not agree, Colburn said he would follow orders as long as “it’s legal, should be done and is in the best interest of the department.”

Colburn was asked about his greatest failure and what he learned from it. He said while not necessarily a failure, he recounted a move to Utah last year that was short-lived. He said he and his wife moved to “see different parts of the country,” but a family situation forced their return home and they settled in Granville.

“I don’t regret it,” he said, “and I learned to do things when it feels right.”

Colburn was asked whether he knew Southwick Fire Department was a small but growing department and where did he see himself in five years. He said the small feel with room to grow was one of the things that drew him to the department.

“In the future, I’d like to take on a training role in the department,” he said.

Colburn said he has reviewed the employee handbook and thanked board members for their consideration,




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