NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A man who devoted his life to saving others in Hamilton County is hanging up his Riverview Health uniform after 44 years. To end his career, Paramedic Michael Sullivan helped on the front lines of COVID-19, even though it meant not hugging his wife for five months.
“We’ve spent a lot of time apart and we sleep apart for the last five months,” Jane Sullivan said. “He just didn’t want to take a risk. That’s the kind of guy he is. So, I’m overwhelmed by this tonight.”
Jane is referring to a special surprise she organized for Michael after his final shift ended on Wednesday evening. Fire engines from around the area, law enforcement officers and ambulances lined up outside the doors of the hospital. Michael’s family, friends and co-workers anxiously waited to cheer him on to retirement.
“He’s going to be very shocked,” Sage Moss, his daughter, said. “He’s a very quiet guy so this is going to be very shocking to him.”
As he walked out of the hospital with his boss at 6:45 p.m., sirens roared and people cheered. Michael’s service to Hamilton County came to a close.
“I was looking forward to it, now I’m a little sad,” Michael said. “It feels like I’m venturing into a new life. I’m like reborn and I’ve got the world ahead of me now.”
Riverview Health has meant a lot to Michael, Jane and their daughters. Michael and Jane met there in 1979 when Jane worked as a respiratory therapist.
“I met him during a code blue,” Jane said. “He was carrying the baby in, put an IV in the baby’s head and I watched his hands do that and I fell in love.”
They married in 1982 and welcomed in their first daughter, Jade, at the hospital in 1983 and daughter Sage in 1990.
“They announced it over the loudspeaker when they were born so that brick and mortar building is really our home,” Jane said. “It’s a hard goodbye.”
Now, Jane and Michael look forward to spending their days in the outdoors with plenty of hiking, cycling and kayaking. Their daughters cannot wait to spend holidays together now – especially Christmas.
Michael will turn 66 years old on Saturday and the family is hosting a socially-distanced, safe outdoor party for him.