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Southern Illinois first responders return home from deployment

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MARION (WSIL) -- Nearly a dozen emergency responders have returned to southern Illinois after helping COVID-19 patients on the East Coast.

First responders from Abbott EMS and Air Evac Lifeteam are back after spending weeks in New York City and New Jersey.

Their duties included handling 911 calls, transporting COVID-19 patients, and giving medical attention to those in need.

Derek Burwell says he was deployed in New York City for 60 days helping with a wide range of tasks.

"We were split up in nine task forces. As a task force leader, we were looking over somewhere between 15-23 ambulances at any given time," explained Burwell.

Abbott EMS Operations Supervisor Jeff Odenthal says he's extremely proud of his team.

"They went to help others in need, and that's what we do as a community as a whole," said Odenthal.

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Fahima Paghmani

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