Braden Damitz and his team work to extinguish a fire. Damitz works as a volunteer firefighter and an emergency medical technician in the Lehigh Valley. (Courtesy of Braden Damitz)

Braden Damitz: keeping the Lehigh Valley safe


Braden Damitz and Shawn Peischl sped along the back roads of rural Pennsylvania, the rolling green hills creating a beautiful backdrop for the gruesome scene to come. Sirens were blaring, Peischl’s foot was pounding on the gas. Unease and questions lingered in the air: What were they headed toward?

Damitz and Peischl expected to roll onto the scene with firetrucks and police, but when they arrived at the six-vehicle car wreck, they were not met with other sirens, but bodies strewn across the road and into the grass. A crowd of civilians was screaming, “How can we help?” 

Damitz scanned the scene, searching for the most critical patient. He ran to the overturned Beige Jeep, only to find it empty. Damitz deemed the passenger laying nearby in the brush most critical and ran over to assist with lightning speed. 

He rushed around in a robotic fashion, handing over the necessary medical equipment to Peischl, assisting to suction blood and starting IVs. 

What could have been a day of death and tragedy was salvaged. The combined efforts of Damitz and Peischl ensured that nobody died in that summer 2020 crash. 

Damitz, a junior ROTC and nursing student at DeSales University, plays a vital role as an emergency service worker, constantly putting the well-being of others first, contributing to the safety of the Lehigh Valley. He has been an emergency medical technician for three years and a volunteer firefighter for five. COVID-19 posed an additional risk to the already dangerous field of emergency services, posing new challenges for Damitz. 

Peischl, a paramedic, said Damitz is an asset as an emergency service worker because he can cover the scene from both the perspective of an EMT and a firefighter. 

“It’s crazy, and for a person who’s able to dedicate themselves like that to so many different things, and so many of those things being helping other people,” Peischl said. “That is the definition of an asset right there, doing the most for the most amount of people.”

Damitz said as COVID-19 became prominent in March, every day in emergency services there were new procedures about disinfecting, social distancing and hospital protocols. 

Damitz said he did not consider asking for hazard pay for time off. He said for anyone with a passion for medicine, embracing the new normal of COVID-19 is now just another part of their job. 

“(COVID-19) was a rumor, and then it was a reality and all of a sudden, it was your reality,” he said. 

One senior care facility Damitz worked with this summer had over 100 residents who tested positive for COVID-19. He transported patients to the hospital, administering oxygen, performing ECGs and monitoring vitals. 

Matt Markle, operations director for the Upper Saucon Ambulance Corps, has worked with Damitz for four years. Markle said as an EMT, Damitz is personable with his patients, as well as an attentive partner, continually going above and beyond to help out. 

In addition to working as an EMT, Damitz volunteers as a firefighter. He sees it as his way to give back and gain more experience in the medical field. 

Joshua Wells, fire chief of the Western Salisbury Volunteer Fire Company, has known Damitz since he was 15 years old. 

“As a firefighter, he’s very disciplined,” Wells said. “He’s very good at the tasks that are assigned to him. He’s very careful and diligent to responsibilities that he’s supposed to be undertaking.” 

Wells said between ROTC, the ambulance corps and volunteering as a firefighter, it’s impressive Damitz can do it all and that he does it above and beyond the required expectation. 

“Everything that he’s done is about helping somebody else and not necessarily himself,” Wells said. “He’s always trying to figure out what can I do for somebody, how can I help a situation, how can I make things better?”

Damitz’s efforts do not go unnoticed by his co-workers and community members. 

Markle said he receives letters from Damitz’s co-workers on what a pleasure it is to work with him and from community members commending him on his service. 

Outside of his service, Damitz is a leader within his ROTC community at DeSales. 

Brian White, a junior at DeSales University and platoon sergeant, is Damitz’s ROTC comrade. 

White said Damitz stands out among other ROTC members in many ways, from first aid military training to his physical fitness and leadership.

Damitz can explain first aid methods to other students comprehensively and helpfully, White said. 

“He honestly outperforms the instructors teaching the courses just because of his experience alone,” White said. “He’s a strong leader in the sense that he pushes others to meet an expectation, and he keeps pushing them until they meet that expectation. He doesn’t let them get any less than what he would do.”

After graduating, Damitz wants to become a critical care nurse in the United States Army. He will graduate with almost five years of emergency experience. 

Markle has no doubt Damitz will find success in his career as an Army nurse. He said Damitz has the motivation and ability to accomplish whatever he puts his mind to. 

“He’s a unique individual and we are really lucky to have him as part of our organization,” Markle said. “It’s one of those things where you know he is working to go on to do bigger and better things and we encourage him, but we are really going to miss having him around when he does go on to those other things.”

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply