John Eskridge, Lead Pilot
Methodist AirCare 2 – Pearsall, TX
How would you summarize your job?
I am the lead pilot at the base. I supervise the other pilots and try to set a good example for them to follow. I also try to provide the entire base with some continuity. Being that the pilots are at the base 7 days at a time, we often know a bit more about what’s going on day to day and can help provide background for oncoming pilots and medical crews.
We’ve heard you’re the breakfast cook, holiday decorator, local handyman and wildlife wrangler at REACH 15. Is there anything you don’t do?
I don’t do intubations or administer drugs. Really though, I just take ownership in the base. If there is a task that I think I can tackle, I will.
Pearsall is a remote base and when I am away from my own family for 7 days, the people I work with serve as my second family, so I treat them that way. I am a former military guy, and one of things I learned in the military is take care of your people.
We have a fantastic group at REACH 15 and I really try to do things to help take care of them because I am so proud of and so thankful for them.
Every Saturday morning I make a waffle breakfast to help show them my appreciation. I consider it a good opportunity for team building because it allows the off going and oncoming crews and the AMT’s to spend time together in a casual environment. We’ve even invited our local EMS ground service to join us for breakfast before.
What do you appreciate most about your coworkers?
I really appreciate their skills, but what I appreciate most is that they are good, caring people. Since I started with REACH, I can’t recall a time where I’ve had to worry about who I was going to be working with. They are all such good people.
What would you say motivates you most to give back to the people you work with?
I was raised with a sense of duty for community service. My dad devoted his entire career to working for the Boy Scouts of America, so I think it’s something I learned from him.
I went on to join the military because I wanted to give back to the country that gave me my freedoms and my rights.
In the end, I think it all comes down to having a sense of appreciation for other people.
In your opinion, what can others learn from giving back? Be it giving back to their co-workers, their community, their family, or their friends.
I guess seeing something through someone else’s eyes gives you empathy for what others are experiencing. Plus, it is a good feeling when you do something for someone that they truly appreciate.
Do you think there is a connection between the values at REACH and the personal values that you bring to your base?
Yeah, there is a very strong connection. It took me a while to recognize it, but when I first interviewed with REACH, they spent more time talking about what kind of person I was than about my flying skills. I now know it’s because REACH is focused on hiring people that are a good fit for the company. They want people who have strong values. This is one of the biggest reason that REACH is a good fit for me.
Who is in your family?
My wife of 26 years, Debbie, and my two daughters, Kate and Megan.
What is the craziest or most off-the-wall thing you have ever done?
I flew attack helicopters in the military, but I’m really not much of a thrill seeker. When I was four years old, I rode a tricycle off a 10-foot retaining wall. My dad said that’s when he knew I wanted to fly. Luckily, I was able to grab ahold of a few rocks on the embankment and didn’t end up tumbling into the creek below.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?