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Chuck Lewis

Hometown Hero
Chuck Lewis

Long before the Hometown Hero awards were created, Chuck Lewis is a name that many in the community likely would have recognized as a Hometown Hero.

At 64 years old, Lewis has been a volunteer paramedic with the Saxonburg VFC Ambulance for the past 31 years, since 1992.

In addition to his work with the ambulance service, Lewis is president of the Butler County EMS Council. He is also board president for AK Pulser, which operates three paramedic response units based in northern Allegheny County in cooperation with Allegheny Health Network.

As if that’s not enough to display exemplary service to the community, Lewis has also served as a deputy coroner with Butler County Coroner's Office since 2004. Since retirement in 2019, he is an active member of Saxonburg Area Rotary Club.

For all his efforts, the Saxonburg Area Rotary Club recognized Lewis by honoring him as a Hometown Hero.

“Today, we have occasional periods of limited or diminished staffing, and I respond to back up the primary crew(s) or help to cover shifts where staffing may be limited. I also help to staff some of the many requests for ambulance or first-aid support to special and sporting events in our area,” Lewis said of his current service.

Saxonburg VFC Ambulance operates three Advanced Life Support ambulances, and each requires a paramedic and EMT as the minimum crew. Saxonburg responds to between 2,500 to 2,900 calls annually which are a mix of emergency calls and routine medical transports for patients in the service area.

“In past years, I typically had 180 to 220 calls annually. Today, I still try to respond to about 120 to 150 calls annually. I also spend many hours each year helping with business management, grant writing, miscellaneous fundraising for Saxonburg Volunteer Fire Company as well as the ambulance service,” Lewis said.

His typical day involves responding to emergency calls when the primary crew is unavailable. He also helps staff special events in the area and is responsible for managing the ambulance service operations. As the ambulance commander for more than 20 years, Lewis is in charge of scheduling crews, medical billing, vehicle management, and equipment and supply management.

Lewis started his path in the field when he majored in pre-med in college. After changing his major to psychology, the EMT and paramedic programs offered him the opportunity to fulfill his wish to work in the medical field as a volunteer and continue his interest in the sciences while providing for his community.

Lewis joined Saxonburg VFC as a member in May 1992 after an invitation from a former neighbor, Gordon Mainhart, who was the Saxonburg police chief at the time.

“I started out as a firefighter. I became an EMT, and a paramedic shortly after that. I was not familiar with volunteer fire service and had no real idea about the service that volunteers provide. It offered me a way to serve my community and help in a way that was exciting and a great way to learn some new skills,” Lewis said.

He continued to say he’s always felt a desire to help others.

“Being a paramedic allows me to do just that. It's a rewarding feeling knowing that I have made a difference in someone's life,” he said.

Lewis finds it rewarding to work with children and young people to help them understand more about the careers and opportunities in the fire and medical services. He encourages others to volunteer.

“You can make new friends, learn new skills and help others in a way that is very rewarding,” Lewis said.

Lewis credits his family as his biggest support. His wife, Pam, supported his volunteer work by caring for the family while he responded to calls. In addition, he credits his three children, Erin, Cameron and Kyle, for supporting his efforts.

His love for the ambulance service and medical aspects were passed on to his children, who obtained their EMT certifications and served as EMTs in their years before college. Cameron serves as an active member and paid EMT for Saxonburg, and Kyle is a certified EMT/firefighter in Ashburn, Va.

Despite retiring four years ago, Lewis is actively involved in the Can-Am Police-Fire Games to be held in Butler County in July 2024.

“I appreciate the recognition and am humbled by the thought,” Lewis said of being named a Hometown Hero. “My hope is that this recognition and my story may be useful in helping others to consider volunteering in some way in their area. It is important to encourage volunteerism to help replenish the volunteers ranks. There are so many organizations that can benefit from members of the community volunteering to help,” Lewis said.

The Saxonburg VFD recently acquired its newest vehicle, a 2010 rescue truck,(left) and its oldest, a 1968 model (right) with (left to right) Gary Cooper,Joe Neubert, Chuck Lewis and Chris Dean at the department on Saturday March 26, 2011.(Justin Guido photo)

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