It was supposed to be an evening of live entertainment, thrilling rides and lots of crawfish, but all that changed when a sudden burst of gunfire erupted at the 2nd annual Mississippi Mudbug Festival in late April 2022. The mass shooting that terrified revelers as they ran for safety, left one person dead and five others injured.
As chaos broke out that night at the fairgrounds in Jackson, AMR Paramedic Preston Crotwell and his partner, who were serving as the event’s standby EMS, quickly stepped in and took charge, providing emergency medical intervention to the wounded.
“The skill, courage and compassion that Preston demonstrated that night were exceptional,” said Ryan Wilson, operation manager for AMR, who adds that these factors were the primary reasons Crotwell was named one of American Ambulance Association’s (AAA) 2023 Stars of Life Award recipients, one of the most prestigious recognitions for EMS first responders.
Crotwell— a former Marine Corps rifleman, who will be formally awarded this distinction in AAA’s annual extravaganza in Washington D.C. on Nov. 5-8— is being praised for working alongside his partner that night in performing all the roles of EMS command, such as triage, treatment and some mobile EMS intervention as well.
“I’m grateful for being chosen for this award; it’s a privilege,” said Crotwell, who also collaborated with law enforcement while tending to the injured. Known for putting the welfare of others before his own, Crotwell is also adamant about keeping his role in response to the shooting in perspective, maintaining a humble view of his service.
“To be honest, I really feel like I was just doing my job that day,” said Crotwell. “As a paramedic, it’s my responsibility to care for people who’ve been hurt, are sick or injured. That’s just the way I see it.”