Every day, in communities across the country, emergency medical service providers put themselves on the line to save lives, safeguard dangerous situations, and deliver hope to families and communities in crisis. Chad Skiles has served as an EMT for 36 years, most recently for the Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center. Chad understands how to show grace under fire, provide essential care and do so with professionalism. That is why SDAHO has selected Chad Skiles as this week’s SDAHO healthcare hero.
Chad has dedicated a lifetime working in Emergency Medical Services, with the first 32 years as a volunteer. The past four years Chad has been under the Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center umbrella. “This career has been the most rewarding experience of my life and I would not change a thing about it.” Those who work with Chad say he is one of the most dedicated people there is in his profession. “He is a strong believer in his community and the role that EMS plays in it.” – Scott Larson, President & CEO Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center
Chad grew up in Canton and is proud to live and work in his hometown. “I moved to Canton as a young child, grew up here, graduated from high school and still live and work in my hometown of Canton. I have proudly served the citizens of South Dakota as both an EMT and as an EMS Instructor.” Chad says he was in high school when he first realized he wanted to follow a career path in healthcare. “When the local ambulance service offered an EMT course while I was in school, I thought what a better way to see if this is truly what I want to do. I enrolled in the course as a sophomore in high school, after receiving permission from the state of South Dakota because I was not 18 yet. After completion of the course, I became the youngest EMT in South Dakota at the age of 16!”
It has become harder to staff EMS positions, including in Canton but Chad’s dedication is somewhat heroic. “He has logged an average of 475.8 hours per month between March 2020 and March 2021. This includes either day shifts, call shifts, nights and weekends.” – Scott Larson, President & CEO Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center
As COVID-19 would impact small towns like Canton, Chad like many healthcare professionals found himself stepping forward while the world was stepping back. “It forced all of us in healthcare to step up, give 110% every day because people needed us more than ever.” Chad says the pandemic has forever changed the way healthcare is delivered and it forced everyone to look at how we are protecting ourselves against the disease. “Not only for our own protection, but for the protection of everyone else out there. I didn’t get vaccinated for myself, I did it to keep my patients and all citizens safe.” Those who work with Chad say that over the past year, he went to great lengths to make sure that between each patient transport that the ambulances was thoroughly cleaned in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
His colleagues say, although the hours can be exhausting, Chad finds satisfaction in helping those people in the community he sees day in and day out and the fact that he is able to play a part in helping them get the care they needs is what drives him. “Chad is very thorough when delivering care to patients and ensuring the proper protocols are followed. I have personally gone on ambulance calls in the field or on a transfer with Chad and I can tell you that EMS runs through his veins. I am 100% comfortable anytime I run a call with him.” – Scott Larson, President & CEO Sanford Canton-Inwood Medical Center
As more and more healthcare professionals are being recognized for there dedication to their profession and heroism, Chad says he was simply put on earth to help people. “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to have a fulfilling career in the medical field. It just happened to include a pandemic that has not been seen in over 100 years. We adapted, came together and are fighting the fight to contain and eliminate this virus and save humanity as we know it.”
Chad Skiles, congratulations on being a SDAHO Healthcare Hero and thank you for all you do!
Visit our Healthcare Hero page to nominate your hero and read past Hero highlights!