Watson has been a first responder for over 25 years

Lt. Lisa Watson

MOORE HAVEN — Lisa Watson had a somewhat scary personal reason for getting involved in the public safety field originally, but now that she’s fulfilled her purpose and learned a lot in the bargain, saving people’s lives is something that makes her happy.

She’s been a Glades County resident since she was 13 years old, and graduated from Moore Haven Middle-High School in 1983. After she married and moved from Lakeport to Ortona with her husband, they had “two wonderful sons, John Michael and Joshua.

“My youngest son was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia at 3½ years old. I had no medical knowledge at that time,” she stated. But she was about to change that.

“During the five years of treatments for him, I took a first responder class in case something happened to him at home. It was then that I was asked to run as a responder in my area until EMS could arrive,” Watson related.

“After getting him through his years of treatments, I started EMT classes with several other Glades County residents.” Among them were current co-worker Teresa Summeralls, who’s an EMT/paramedic along with her now at Glades County Public Safety, and Summeralls’ late mother, Margret Pullen. Then, as a certified emergency medical technician, she began working for Glades County Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

After Watson completed those classes at the former Edison College (now Florida SouthWestern State College) in Fort Myers, she “started working with Glades County EMS part-time, and was approached by the Ortona fire chief to join the Volunteer Fire Department, which to all my family’s surprise, I did!”

A few years later, she said, she made lieutenant within the Ortona Volunteer Fire Department.

Then, “in 1993, I took it a step farther and attended paramedic class. I took a full-time job with Glades County EMS in November 1994. Passed my paramedic state boards (examinations) in March (1995) and never looked back. Within a couple years, I was made a lieutenant with the service.

“Now, some 25½ years later, after many classes in EMS, fire and some in EM (Emergency Management), I am still here. I have loved working for Glades County and serving its people in their time of need.”

With retirement on the horizon, Watson talked about her plans:

“Recently my husband and I moved back to Lakeport to take care of my parents. I plan on continuing my service for another 4½ years and then retiring and spoiling all nine of my grandchildren!

“I consider myself to be blessed to have stumbled in to a career that I have loved.”

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