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Community Connection: Dr. Earl Grubbs

Dr. Earl Grubbs, 55, is kind of like the ER oracle. Upstart paramedics and EMTs query him for wisdom. The native Midwesterner and father of two volunteers as the Gwinnett County Fire Department medical director, a post that recently earned him kudos as Georgia's Pioneer in EMS.

On workplace drama: I like the thrill, the constant change of the emergency department. You never know what's coming at you next. When everybody else is running away, paramedics are saying, "This is great; this is what we live for."

On the impetus: My interest in medicine started when I was on the high school wrestling team. I got injured, stayed in the hospital a couple days. It was one of those takedown moves and my head slammed on the mat, lost sensation on half my body. I had a female neurologist who impressed me so much - with her demeanor, her skills - that I thought, this is the direction I want to go with my life.

On the awkwardness of saving friends: I have had to provide care - delicate-type situations - to neighbors, friends ... It is uncomfortable. There's a certain amount of give-and-take in physician-patient relationships that violates their free space.

On fore!: I'm a very bad golfer, but I like doing it. I have recently hooked my wife on it. I appealed to the fact that when we get old, we won't be able to play tennis, but we can still golf.

On the Chicago exodus: There was a winter in Chicago that immediately preceded (my family's move southward). The snow was so deep that people were putting those bicycle-type flags on their back-bumpers that stick up high, because if you would pull out of a parking lot you couldn't see anything; the snow was much taller than your car. That was time to go.

On volunteerism: It may sound hokey, but we have to give back to our community. This is a way I can give back.