Clemons Retires from 41-Year NMMC Career
The NMMC Patient Logistics Center staff honored Clemons with a retirement reception on his last day, Aug. 31.
TUPELO, Miss.-Jimmy Clemons of the Patient Logistics Center has retired after 41 years of service at North Mississippi Medical Center.
A 1976 graduate of Tupelo High School, Clemons studied business administration for a year at Itawamba Community College before joining the NMMC staff in October 1977 as an attendant on night shift. “Back then, there were only two EMTs on night shift, so the attendants also went on ambulance runs,” Clemons said. “I was 19 years old when I went on one of my first ambulance runs, and it was an explosion at Sunshine Mills. I had never experienced anything like that.”
In 1978 he completed his Emergency Medical Technician-Basic certification from ICC and transferred to Ambulance Services. In 1982 he earned his EMT-Intermediate certification, and in 1986 he became a certified Paramedic. For many years he worked with the Ambulance Services branch in Baldwyn, serving as site supervisor in the early 1990s. He left briefly to work in Columbus but soon found his way back home. He became a supervisor for Ambulance Services in Tupelo in 1998 and served in that position until 2009, when he started making ambulance runs again.
In 2003, Clemons founded NMMC’s Honor Guard and served as its commander until 2013. “After the events of September 11, 2001, and the tributes the following year, I really saw the need for NMMC to have our own Honor Guard,” Clemons said. “The second anniversary of Sept. 11 was our unit’s first ceremony.” Clemons completed extensive training at the Florida State Fire Academy in 2003 and the National Fire and Public Safety Honor Guard Academy in 2008.
Under his command, NMMC’s Honor Guard performed flag ceremonies and postings, half-mast ceremonies, ceremonial guard station, Christmas parade color guard, and flag etiquette classes for schools and scout groups. They also did funerals, retirement celebrations, sporting events, festivals, conferences, grand openings and even weddings.
In addition to NMMC, Clemons always worked or volunteered elsewhere as well. He graduated from the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy and the Mississippi State Fire Academy. He served as chief of the Saltillo Volunteer Fire Department, as a patrol officer with Saltillo Police Department and as a deputy with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, where he helped develop the “SWAT Medic” program.
In 2014, while recovering from shoulder surgery, Clemons was assigned “light duty” at NMMC’s Patient Logistics Center and found a new calling. He transferred permanently and has been dispatching CareFlight, Critical Care Transport and ambulances ever since.
“I’ve been involved in public service my entire life,” Clemons said. “I’ve always had more one than one thing going on at a time. My brother said if it had a light and a siren on it, I would do it.”
The last several years, Clemons says he has been “whittling it down,” and Aug. 31 was his last day at NMMC. In retirement he plans to tackle his large “honey-do” list and get back to woodworking, a hobby he enjoyed for many years.
His wife, Annette, will continue working at Med Serve. They have four children—Brandi Dunham, who lives in Tupelo with husband Shane and children Jay, Shannon and Emi; Jay Clemons, who lives in Guntown with his children, Anna Grace, Mollie Ann, Skyler and Hayden; Amanda Moore of Saltillo, who is a registered nurse at NMMC and mother to Ben, Dan and Tyler; and Justin Clemons, who lives in Mantachie with wife Kristen and children Rose, Maddie and Ryn. They attend Faith Baptist Church in Saltillo.
“I started as a kid. It has been a long, wonderful—and at times scary—ride here, never knowing what you will run into. We see a lot of things in the community that other people don’t see,” Clemons said. “But I have loved every minute of it.”