As a paramedic, Edgar Escobedo has done swift water and open water rescues, mountain rescues, and tactical rescue responses. He has been on SCUBA diving teams and for awhile worked with Skylife of Central California, airlifting critical care patients via Bell 222 helicopters.
One dramatic mountain rescue involving Escobedo was televised on Rescue 911. A man had fallen off a cliff and was wedged in some rocks, below. The bright blue and white Skylife helicopter flew an hour and a half north, into the Forest Service Heliport next to Bass Lake in Sequoia National Park. "When we arrived, they were bringing the man up from the cliff. We revived him before we moved him to the helicopter.
"What made this rescue so interesting," he says, "is that I am a medic with the Marines Reserve Unit, and this man served with me at Camp Pendleton. By the time we got to the hospital, he was awake and talking. I didn't say anything to him about it, until we were in reserves the following month. He said, 'You were on that rescue?' I said, 'Yes, I pulled you in.'"
The work he did then, as now, he sees as an extension of his Christian faith.
Today, Escobedo serves as the Emergency Medical Service Coordinator for Fresno-King-Madeira counties. His job is to help set policy, oversee procedures, and review research data on ways to provide improved care for emergency victims.
Escobedo became interested in medical rescue when he joined the Navy and trained as an EMT-1. He went to paramedic school in Fresno and served for eight years as a paramedic. "I think I enjoyed the excitement. I had the opportunity to work on a number of different rescue teams, including those who work with S.W.A.T. I guess as a child I looked up to paramedics and firemen."
Escobedo grew up in Fresno and Clovis, the middle child in a family of four boys and a girl. His father, Santiago, was a professor at Fresno City College. "He was a strong, Christian man who treated my mother and us with respect. My parents never once argued, at least not in front of us. My father never raised his voice to one of his sons.
"Sometimes he would take us boys with him to the college. I saw his interaction with the students. It was loving and caring. He was also a leader in our church, Templo Bautista in Fresno. For as far back as I can remember, he was a music director and deacon. When my Dad spoke, people listened, because he spoke with wisdom."
It was in a family camp at Jenness Park Baptist Assembly in Cold Springs, that Escobedo, 12, made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. His father reviewed the simple steps for faith, and led Escobedo in a prayer asking God to forgive his sins.
His father was at his side again, just after Escobedo completed two years of junior college. "My father knew I was searching for some direction. We took a bike trip. Among the things he told me was that he would always be proud of me, no matter what I did."
Along with his full-time job, Escobedo is a student at Fresno Pacific College, working on a degree in management organization development. Recently he wrote a fictional piece for a class on how he thought Jesus would react in his job situations. "My job, before, was to attend the victim. When the victim dies, other paramedics would say, 'I've done my job and I'm outta here.' But because of my faith, many times I have offered support to the survivor.
"It is the kind of care that Jesus showed to the woman at the well and the people that He healed. I can hold someone's hand or talk or offer to call a minister.
"Christ said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. I should do that, not because I want to be nice and friendly, but because God expects that from us."
Escobedo and his wife, Elizabeth, have two sons, David, 5, and Josias, 4, named for two great kings of Israel. "We are trying to teach them about God, whether it is in the songs they sing or the stories that we read.
"Quite honestly, a person can be a great disciple of Christ — a great servant — without being in the ministry full time. I think that is what my father showed to me. Whether my sons become astronauts or teachers or something else, we just want them to serve God."
Integrating Faith and Government
by Laura Johnston
Daniel Webster served his local church as building committee chairman sixteen years ago. He became speaker of the Florida House of Representatives last November. One led to the other.
In chairing the building committee at Orlando's First Baptist Church of Pine Hills, now First Baptist Church of Central Florida, Webster asked the county commission for a zoning variance on property the church owned near a five-lane highway. There was a general feeling of opposition to church growth, Webster recounted, and the commission denied the request.
"I thought that was a bad decision," Webster said. "So I asked who made the policy. They told me it was the legislature. So I called my mom and said, 'I think I'm going to run.'"
With the help of volunteers from his church and community, Webster began a door-to-door campaign in District 41, which serves Lake, Orange, and Osceola counties.
He was "so late in the game" he had to start on chapter eight of the campaign guide he was using. "I'll never forget that chapter. It was called 'The Fast Finish.'"
Despite all the obstacles in mounting a campaign, Webster qualified for — and then won — a Republican runoff. In the general election, all the winners had been declared and all the papers had reported he had lost. But when the final precinct was counted, Webster had won his race.
Now, as House speaker, Webster said, "There are a thousand reasons why I shouldn't be here. But there's only one reason why I am — that's the grace of God."
He added, "… any accomplishments I may have achieved come only from the investment that God and others have made in my life."
Webster said his first election taught him the need to keep people informed and to make sure they exercise their rights as voters.
"Baptists are no different than the general populace," he commented. "They're not registered, or if they are, they vote spasmodically. Many don't vote with enough information about a candidate."
If people want the freedoms they now enjoy to continue for the future, he emphasized, they need to register to vote and then "become a voter and be an informed voter."
Wal-Mart Executive Urges Servanthood
To understand servant leadership one must understand the value of others, according to Donald Soderquist, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
The Wal-Mart executive addressed about 500 students during the April 7 Business and Ministry Forum at Oklahoma Baptist University. He suggested five things to remember in becoming a servant leader: 1.) Every individual is a unique creation of God. 2.) We're all different. Each of us has unique talents and ability and diversity is a strength. 3.) Every person has a contribution to make. 4.) Everyone wants to be somebody. 5.) Successful individuals discover how to unleash their own abilities and how to get the best out of others.
"I am no better than any one of you," Soderquist told the students. "None of you is any better than the person sitting next to you. In God's eyes there is no caste system. We're all just as important. Servant leadership is helping everyone recognize his importance."
Soderquist suggested that to attain successful servant leadership individuals or corporations must operate out of a core set of beliefs. "As individuals, that foundation of beliefs that we have, our spirits, our drives, and our attitudes will more influence our success in life, our success as a Christian brother or sister, than all the learning you will get out of books," he said.
He noted that Luke's Gospel records how the disciples got in a dispute over who among them would be the greatest.
"What the Lord said is, 'He who is least among you all, he is the greatest,'" Soderquist said. "That doesn't make sense, folks. Our human minds can't totally comprehend that. It is contrary to most of what we teach in these United States. It's not our human nature. We're selfish. We have egos. We have attitudes. It's called sin."
To understand servant leadership, one must look at the example set by Jesus Himself, according to Soderquist.
"The Lord, throughout His entire life, was a servant," Soderquist said. "We preach on Sunday morning that we should be Christ-like. He washed their feet! He sacrificed His life for us. That's servant leadership to the max!"