Upper medic makes splash on Ocean City Beach Patrol

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Beach patrol medic Pat Dugan is prepared for any emergency. Beach patrol medic Pat Dugan is prepared for any emergency.

OCEAN CITY – The rookie medic has only been on the job for about six weeks, but he’s already making an impact on the Ocean City Beach Patrol.

Patrick Dugan works out of the OCBP tent at First Street, helping to keep first-zone patrons safe and healthy. Senior Medic Lindsay Zwiebel says he’s one medic she doesn’t have to worry about.

“There are two medics that stand out,” said Zwiebel. “He’s one of them, and for a first-year hire, that says a lot. He goes above and beyond, he’ll work wherever we need him, he’ll work extended hours, six days a week – whatever is asked of him, he says yes. He’s very knowledgeable, overly ambitious and eager. We’re all hoping that he’ll stay around and work for the beach patrol for many, many years.”

Inspired by his mother and other role models who have made a difference, 20-year-old Dugan is studying to be an elementary school teacher. For Dugan, education is a natural choice; his mother, Maggie, teaches fifth grade at Upper Township Elementary School.

“It’s like a family business,” he said. “I’ve always looked up to my mom. She inspires kids using different techniques. She’s very kind, but firm.”

He’s also a certified EMT and joined the Upper Township Rescue Squad two years ago.

The 2009 Ocean City High School graduate was in the leadership club at Ocean City High School and the sergeant-in-arms and public relations officer for the student council. Now a junior at Rowan University, he plans to earn masters and doctorate degrees, enabling him to one day become a school administrator.

High school interim Principal Michelle Ferner was the impetus.

“She’s another educator who did things in a unique way,” said Dugan. “She got kids involved. Her door was always open, and that’s the kind of administrator I want to be. I want to be there for the kids and the teachers. I want them to know my door is always open. That’s important, to be open to student ideas. A lot of administrators aren’t.”

Dugan is the youngest of three sons of the son of Pat and Maggie Dugan of Beesleys Point. At 6 foot 4, he is – believe it or not – the shortest. His brothers are both 6 foot 6.

While Jim and Mike pursued athletic endeavors – Jim in track and cross-country and Mike in soccer and baseball – the younger Dugan was more interested in serving the community, both in school and out.

“Becoming an EMT really opened a door for me with the beach patrol,” he said. “I became aware of what the rescue squad does and I wanted to be a part of it. I enjoy helping people. I think it’s really neat what they do. Whether it’s a car accident or some other kind of injury, the rescue squad is there. People respond well to the kind-heartedness of emergency responders and it’s very rewarding.

“When you see the reaction, when something happens and someone is there very quickly to help, it really means a lot,” he said.

While working on the beach, Dugan continues to serve the rescue squad.

“I’m pretty much working or on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “You always answer that call.”

He works most of the time, Dugan says, but when he has some down time he likes to spend time with his family and friends.

“Right now I think I have the perfect mix,” he said. “I work on the beach all summer, doing what I love. What better way to practice EMS and make new friends than on the beach in Ocean City?

“This is my first summer working with the beach patrol, it will be a great summer job to have when I become a teacher,” he said.

Zwiebel says the “extremely personable” Dugan fits in very well with the OCBP.

“It’s so neat to have a rookie come in and want to go to the lifeguard races, want to do things that support the beach patrol,” she said. “He was excited about the races, he’s always happy. He goes above and beyond and he has a great sense of humor. He fits in wonderfully here.

“Patrick is quite a character,” she said. “We enjoy having him here and he’s great with the patrons. And that’s really important.”





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