A longtime member of the Oxford Fire Department was in Washington D.C. Jan. 20 for President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, but she wasn’t there as a spectator or a protester.
Lt. Nancy Hunger was there to work as a paramedic.
“Politics aside, it was awesome,” she said. “It’s tradition and it was pretty overwhelming to be a part of it. It was history in the making.”
She was deployed as a member of Michigan-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), a group of medical providers and support personnel who provide medical care during presidentially-declared disasters and National Special Security Events.
Hunger’s been a member of the team for five years.
There was no sleeping late on Inauguration Day. Hunger left her hotel in Herndon, Virginia at 1 a.m. and was in place at the U.S. Capitol, where the ceremony is traditionally conducted, by 5 a.m.
She was very impressed with the U.S. Capitol Police, the federal law enforcement agency charged with protecting Congress.
“They really take their job seriously,” said Hunger, who has served as Oxford’s EMS coordinator since joining the department in 2006. “You couldn’t whisper without somebody knowing – that’s how secure it is.”
Hunger was part of a five-member team that consisted of a doctor, a nurse, a physician assistant and two paramedics.
The team’s job was to handle any medical needs that might arise, from slip-and-fall injuries and chest pains to wounds sustained in an active shooter situation. They spent three days prior to the inauguration being trained, briefed and going over incident action plans.
“The whole idea is you prepare for the worst and you hope for the best,” she explained.
Her team was initially stationed inside the Capitol Building, then moved outside and was positioned behind the stands while Trump took the oath of office and became the 45th president.
Because of where Hunger was located, she couldn’t see the ceremony, but she could hear it. She said Trump’s supporters were there “in full force.”
“They were so excited. There was a lot of chanting going on. ‘Drain the swap’ was one of them,” she said.
Hunger encountered some famous folks from the world of politics.
“(Michigan) Gov. Snyder gave me a nod, which was kind of cool. I wish I would have got to shake his hand,” she said. “(U.S. Sen.) Ted Cruz (R-Texas) smiled at me.”
She also saw former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “I didn’t recognize anybody else,” Hunger said.
This was Hunger’s third trip to Washington D.C. as part of Michigan-1 DMAT. She worked the Independence Day fireworks display in 2015 and the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service last year.
“What these planned events do is they prepare us for that unplanned event, like a (Hurricane) Katrina type of thing,” Hunger said.
Hunger is appreciative of the Oxford Fire Department for allowing her to be part of DMAT and participate in this historic event.
“Without their backing, I couldn’t do this,” she said. “At the end of the day, that’s my main job and I don’t want them to think I’m not grateful for them supporting me on this.”