“We love taking care of people and in return taking care of the community.”
That’s how Pafford Medical Services CEO Jamie Pafford-Greshman describes the work her company does and is a major reason why Pafford Medical Services was named the 2021 Business of the Year at the Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce 2021 Annual Meeting Monday night.
Pafford-Greshman was out of town during the evening, but the award was accepted by her two children, Suzie and Garrett, and her husband Ben, something Jamie says she is jealous they were able to do.
“I was sitting at a little hotel room all by myself and it was so very gratifying to get to see them accepting the award for our company,” she said. “It’s little bittersweet because I wasn’t there, but it was a very proud moment all in the same for out company and all of the associates that work for Pafford.”
Pafford started in 1967 in Magnolia by Jamie’s parents, James and Carol Pafford, with Jamie and her two brothers, Greg and John, taking control of the business in 2005.
“My parents started this company with just a station wagon ambulance and today my brothers and I own ambulances services in four states and the U.S. Virgin Islands and operate well over 200 ambulances today,” Jamie said. “We’ve grown a lot in the last 54 years. It’s family owned and operated and driven by the communities we serve and the requests that they have for us.”
The company moved to Hope about 25 years ago and Jamie said it was the perfect place to have Pafford based in.
“I believe in a place called Hope,” she said. “I just love saying that. I had family within the area and it was the perfect fit for my family and that’s where I wanted to raise my children at and it worked out really well for us. Hope has been very good to the Pafford Family.”
Throughout Pafford Medical Services’s 54 years of service, this past year has been one of the biggest challenges for the company, according to Jamie.
“It has been a very trying year/year and a half just trying to deal with COVID in general, not just in Hope but in all of our communities,” she said. “It’s been overwhelming. Absolutely overwhelming to the ambulance industry because as ambulance providers we were not able to close or furlough any employees or shut down wings of hospitals or things like that.”
Jamies says that through everything, they had to make sure their communities were getting the service they needed.
“When COVID first happened, we had to continue to stay on the front lines and make sure our communities were serviced,” she said. “There were some very scary times in there for a lot of ambulance providers wondering if we would make it out of COVID because the federal funding wasn’t there to help us. We went through serval scary months of ‘are we going to have ambulance calls?’ and ‘what are we gonna do?’ and then it immediately turned into just nearly chaos upon chaos of not being able to find places for people to go that were sick and people that didn’t want to go to the hospital. It was a very trying time for all of our staff.”
Through everything, Jamie says that she does finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s different though,” she said. “I think COVID has changed us all. It’s made us more aware of our surroundings for one but also it has made Pafford grow more horizontally in what we do.”
During the pandemic, Pafford started an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) as well as put things in place to make sure they were taking care of their employees and their family from the virus. They also expanded this to start taking care of employees of other companies as well. Pafford also now handled COVID-19 vaccinations throughout Louisiana, as well as provide ambulance services and COVID-19 vaccinations for all three islands in the Virgin Islands.
“We really rolled up our sleeves at Pafford and I really give all the credit to the great team that I have,” Jamie said. “We decided that we were not just going to survive, but to thrive during this whole ordeal and that’s what we did and that’s why we’ve been in business in 54 years now.”
Through it all, Jamie has one major goal for the company moving forward.
“Our goal for the future is to not only survive but to thrive in the environment that we’re given no matter what it is,” she said.” I think that’s what you have to do to make it in this business.”