People of Etowah – Dustin Watkins


Name: Dustin Watkins

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born and raised in Etowah County.”

What is your occupation?

“I work at two different transport companies in Emergency Medical Services as a Paramedic and part-time as an educator in the EMS program at Northeast Alabama Community College. I also give time as a Flight Officer with the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“My heart is helping others! I have worked in the fire service and in full time law enforcement and I loved both, but becoming a paramedic has been the most rewarding career path I’ve taken.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“I have been married to the love of my life and best friend for going on nine years! We have a beautiful, smart and outgoing daughter that has absolutely stolen my heart! I am truly blessed!”

Describe an average day in your life.

“Busy. Busy. Busy. Most “normal” days for me involve waking up a little after four in the morning to work out, making it home from the gym to see the family off to work and school, going to work myself, then returning home and repeating! But in my field I’m not sure what is “normal.”  My work hours range from days, nights, or 24 hour shifts.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I graduated from Etowah High School and obtained my paramedic education at Gadsden State Community College.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Flying airplanes, reading, but mostly spending time with my family.”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“It’s hard to rate accomplishments for me without characterizing them. In my career and studies, I would have to say that passing the IBSC exam for my Flight Paramedic Certification has, so far, been my greatest accomplishment. In life, I would have to say that having a great and supportive family has been a great accomplishment!

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“It is hard to credit a single individual because I have had many mentors throughout different seasons of my life, but the one that I call on for leadership advise has been a friend and mentor named Wade Buckner. He has always given me solid and well thought out advice!”

To what do you credit your success?

“The people in my life that have supported me through every decision I’ve made played a vital role, but also to the people that have let me down.  People can often live on the past of bad occurrences or people in life that have failed them, but I find it more productive to let the past be the past and use these things as a highly valuable life experience moving forward!

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“The way people will come together during a crisis!”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“Less politics, more servant leadership and better discernment of right and wrong.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Self-critical, determined, learner.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“I’ve failed at many things! Many “accomplishments” in life haven’t come easy or on the first attempt for me!”

What is your favorite quote?

“The lowest standard we set is the highest standard we can expect!”

What is on your bucket list?

“Fly myself all over Alaska!”

What is your hidden talent?

“My thumbs are double jointed and I can make them look like ducks floating on water. Quack quack!”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Seriously? I shouldn’t even have to say, Dwayne Johnson, of course!”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“Never underestimate education! Never stop learning! Change is good! Love everyone, and before pointing fingers, look in the mirror!”

To nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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