Michael Flood was the “grandpa of the group” when he enrolled in an emergency medical technician program at Lansing Community College.
Flood had just retired from a 25-year career in education at Olivet schools. He retired in 2019 but found he missed being surrounded by people all day.
Flood, now 54, had spent his entire life serving the community — from his time in the military to being a teacher and principal for 25 years — and he wasn’t content relaxing at home. So he enrolled in a six-month EMT course at LCC, which ended up being mostly virtual because of COVID-19.
“I did not ever picture this,” Flood said. “I thought if I could get a job working a day or two a week, I’d be happy. But that’s not my personality. I have to be out and active. I have to be out doing something.”
A year and a half after starting work at Eaton Area EMS, Flood is the manager of the service. Flood started at the Sparrow Eaton Hospital EMS service in February 2021, in the midst of the pandemic. COVID made it a difficult job, but that was the only world he knew as an EMT. Now, he looks back and sees COVID helped him become a better EMT.
In addition to Eaton Area EMS, he also works as a medical responder at the Olivet Fire Department, which allows him to get out into his community. He taught in Olivet for 15 years, was a principal for four years, then moved back to teaching after he met his wife.
He misses his students, but now he gets to see them in a different role, whether it be at football games or out in the community. It’s been eye-opening going on difficult calls and seeing people he knows injured or sick.
“Trying to help community members is a difficult experience but it’s rewarding at the same time,” Flood said. “I think it’s a sense of comfort to know (the person) driving them to the hospital or riding in back with them,” Flood said.
Joe Clayton works with Flood at Eaton Area EMS. He said Flood is patient, logical and knowledgeable and while he’s new to the world of pre-hospital care, he has the common sense to be good at the job.
Part of what Flood said he loves about being an EMT is the fast pace. He’s a self-described adrenaline junkie and enjoys mountain climbing and is a professional cyclist.
“I still get excited when the phones go off, I still get excited to go on calls and be around people,” Flood said. “I really love my job now. … The rush I get working as an EMT and volunteer fireman is a lot like the one I get when I’m rock climbing.”
He doesn’t see a second retirement coming anytime soon, though his wife Suzie Flood, said she hopes “maybe someday” her husband will settle down for a relaxing retirement.
“It’s just in him to want to be busy,” Suzie said. “I think he likes the adrenaline that comes along with being a first responder.”
She wasn’t surprised when Michael went back to work. Even before he retired, he’d spend his lunch breaks at work researching how to become an EMT, she said.
Suzie was a teacher in Olivet when Michael was the principal and she said the staff loved that he was always the first one on-scene if there was an emergency. He dropped everything to get there to see how he could help, whether that be through comforting students and parents or problem solving.
“Under pressure he’s great at problem solving,” Suzie said. “He thought it was his responsibility to make sure everyone is OK. … Anywhere he senses someone that needs help, he’s right there.”
Contact reporter Kara Berg at 517-377-1113 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @karaberg95.