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Making a difference

Superheroes are best known for saving lives, which probably makes James Barr the textbook definition of a superhero.

Barr, originally of Concord, North Carolina, works as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for Buckingham County. He’s also an ER technician at Centra Southside Community Hospital in Farmville.

Barr dedicates countless hours to responding to emergency calls throughout the community. Although situations can be intense and no call is the same, he draws inspiration from his mother whose 20-plus years in nursing instilled in him the core values which inspired a career in health care.

Barr’s job can be intense and at times heartbreaking.

“My favorite part of what I do is providing a service to others that helps them get better,” he said. “The most difficult part is when the service you provide doesn’t help. We do what we can, however, not everyone survives when life-threatening injuries or conditions are beyond our control.”

Barr noted calls come in for a variety of reasons, and each case must be treated with urgency as things can change in an instant.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Barr and his fellow caregivers had to increase their protective gear for themselves and their patients. Call volumes increased throughout the pandemic as more people needed services due to coronavirus symptoms.

Currently, Barr enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Gabrielle, who lives in Buckingham. The couple are crazy about their two dogs, a basset hound named Bandit and a German shepherd named Kimber.

“They are the sweetest and most lovable dogs ever,” he added.

To relieve stress from such a serious job, Barr enjoys going to the gym and working out. Getting in better shape, he says, allows him to provide better care for others. Barr always has his sights set on bettering himself in whatever it is he’s doing. He also enjoys fishing, hunting, beach trips and spending time with family and friends.

Barr said he views superheroes as people who put others first, whether that’s saving lives or just lending an ear in difficult times.

“Providing life-saving services has made me realize just how precious life is, and we should not take anything for granted,” he said. “ Being there for the people in my community when they need help provides me with a great deal of satisfaction knowing I’ve made a difference.”

To see the full A Salute to Community Heroes edition click here.