To the editor: This week is National Emergency Medical Services Week, an observance designed to recognize and celebrate the enormous contributions EMS professionals make to our community.

EMS answers the call day or night, in all kinds of weather and in all kinds of conditions, many of which can be dangerous and emotionally challenging. It's easy to forget how difficult this work can be, but our dispatchers, first responders, EMTs and paramedics deliver, without fail, day in and day out.

Our greater Berkshire County emergency medical services consist of a variety of professionals, all dedicated to answering the call and making a difference in their patients' lives. Members of emergency medical services teams, whether career or volunteer, public or private, engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills. They also give back to their communities far more than they take.

This year's EMS Week theme is "EMS: Rising to the Challenge" and heralds how EMS providers, regardless or service or system, work together daily to help save lives.

As an agency leader, I recognize that without the benefit of our area's dedicated EMS partners, our hospital staff — and, more importantly, our patients — would truly be at a loss.

Please join me in thanking our EMS teams for the exceptional work they do and wishing them a happy EMS Week.

Shawn P. Godfrey, Great Barrington

The writer is a paramedic and assistant chief of operations for Southern Berkshire Volunteer Ambulance Squad.