ST. LOUIS – Tonya Tsiaklides has been serving the St. Louis community as a paramedic for 21 years. She began her career as a dispatcher while working to become a paramedic and has been in the lives of those in emergencies throughout her entire career. About five years ago, she joined FEMA traveling the country to serve on the front lines of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and more.
In March, when the pandemic hit New York City the hardest, Tonya was called to join paramedics from across the country knowingly risking exposure to Covid-19 in order to help flatten the curve. What she thought would be a few weeks in NYC ended up keeping her there for over 2 months. She talked with her husband, also a paramedic in Washington, MO, and decided she would go as both of their jobs require risk of exposure anyway. She left behind a 14-year-old at home, missed Easter and Mother’s Day. But Tonya says she is not a hero, she strives to learn and grow within her field. Every role teaches her something new and her husband Bobby said she strives to keep learning and growing.
Once she came back to St. Louis, Tonya joined the team at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital where she is gaining experience working in pediatrics. Tonya works to transporting preemies, learning the very specific medications and doses babies need as they are moved. Being a paramedic is Tonya’s passion and St. Louis is lucky to have her in our community.