Carlos Woody, Chief Deputy General Counsel, fulfilled a personal goal to earn emergency medical technician certification.

Check another box on Carlos Woody’s list of personal achievement goals.

On Oct. 4, 2021, Woody, Chief Deputy General Counsel for OUC, learned that he had passed the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Exam and the State of Florida had accepted him to practice as a certified licensed EMT. He reached these goals after completing a 12-week summer program at Daytona State College, where he attended class five days a week from 6-10:30 p.m., and passing the final exam with a perfect score of 100%. His final course average was one of the highest his class instructor said he had ever seen.

The program required him to complete four shifts with fire and rescue, two with an ambulance service and one in a hospital emergency room. Each shift ran 12 hours, and Woody worked them on weekends in Daytona Beach, which is near his home in Ormond Beach.

Woody can now add nationally certified EMT to an already diverse work experience on his resume. He was a certified pest control operator while president of Woody’s Lawn & Ornamental Pest Control, a business his father founded; a federal law enforcement agent with the Internal Revenue Service, investigating such crimes as money laundering and tax evasion; a law school student who went on to pass the Florida Bar, join OUC’s legal staff in 2004, rising to his current post, and become, in 2006, an adjunct professor at Florida A&M University’s College of Law in Orlando.  In 2011, Woody became board certified by the Florida Bar in city, county and local government law, and in 2013 he co-authored a Florida Constitutional Law textbook that is used by most law schools in Florida.

“Now that I am a licensed EMT, I plan to maintain my proficiency by volunteering on the weekends with a local fire department or becoming an intermittent EMT with the county ambulance/emergency medical service,” said Woody.

As an EMT, Woody must complete 30 hours of continuing education requirements each year to keep his certification.

Becoming a full-fledged EMT is a goal Woody originally intended to pursue four years ago when his youngest of three daughters entered medical school. He believed EMT training would help him carry on more knowledgeable conversations with Kristen, an aspiring emergency room physician. When his middle daughter, Lauren, entered pharmacy school, Woody had another reason to learn about medicine and patient care.

“Once I got into med school and started seeing the clinical side of things, he wanted to become an EMT so he could understand what I was doing,” said Kristen. “He always wants to know more.”

But with his busy work schedule and nighttime teaching commitment to FAMU over summers, Woody couldn’t find the time for EMT training.

That is, until he witnessed an older brother suffer a stroke and felt powerless to help him. The incident occurred on Father’s Day 2020 while Woody was visiting his dad, who has dementia and Alzheimer’s, and the brother who cares for their father.

As he walked toward the door to leave, Woody said goodbye to them. But when his brother didn’t respond, “I turned around and saw he was having difficulties,” Woody said. “His eyes were rolling back into his head and he exhibited classic stroke symptoms. I called 911. Doing that basically saved his life. If I wasn’t there, more than likely he would have died because my dad wouldn’t have had the wherewithal or the ability to call for help. So, that’s what prompted me to get EMT training. I need to provide assistance when I run into situations like this.”

Fast forward to Father’s Day 2021 and Woody, in his first month of EMT school, found himself providing assistance in a life-and-death situation.

He was on a 12-hour training shift at Daytona Beach Fire Station 1 when its crew was dispatched on an emergency medical call. Upon arriving at the scene, Woody and his teammates found a man unconscious in a stopped vehicle with its engine running.

“He was blue and ashen with pinpoint pupils,” Woody recalled, describing features his training led him to believe were the classic symptoms of an opioid overdose. “He was cyanotic and his respirations were low.”

While a paramedic intern administered intravenous doses of NARCAN, an opioid OD antidote, Woody pumped air into the man’s lungs with a handheld resuscitator. In a few minutes the man regained consciousness and was transported to a hospital.

“It’s exhilarating when you can save somebody’s life based on the skills you have. That experience I had with the OD was amazing. There was a guy filming it, and he said, ‘You guys rock. You saved this guy’s life.’  You never know when you’ll use those skills to help someone,” said Woody. “There were two lives in the balance on Father’s Day, and I was able to have good endings on both of them.”

Having met the challenge of earning EMT certification, Woody said there’s only one more thing he wants to learn how to do.

“I’ve pretty much done everything I’ve wanted to do in this life. Next is getting a pilot’s license.”

Carlos Woody, always reaching for new heights.