CENTRAL FLORIDA -- As Barack Obama is sworn into office Jan. 20, two Lake-Sumter Emergency Medical Services employees will be among the sea of faces -- but not as spectators.
Lloyd Parker, 51, and Karen Crowe, 43, will be on hand to provide medical care to a crowd that could swell to 2 million people.
Parker, Lake-Sumter EMS assistant chief, and Crowe, clinical quality officer, are members of a federal network of medical professionals who supplement the nation's medical response to high-volume, high-risk situations.
They are part of a 135-person disaster medical-assistance team based in Central Florida. Parker will be responsible for leading the team, and Crowe will serve as a training officer. About 35 members will serve at the inauguration.
"We will be available for medical care should the need arise," Crowe said.
Parker said members of the Central Florida team -- part of the National Disaster Medical System -- have a wealth of experience, having responded to other national crises.
"This is a veteran team that has responded to Katrina on multiple occasions," he said.
Though members are prepared, they will have to contend with wintry conditions far colder than they are used to. A high of 35 degrees is predicted for the nation's capital on Inauguration Day, according to accuweather.com.
"One of the first things we addressed is cold-weather gear, making sure everyone can stay warm enough since we are Floridians," Crowe said.
She and Parker will join more than 500 EMS employees from across the country, according to government officials.
At Lake-Sumter EMS, 30-year EMS veteran Parker for the past two years has been responsible for crafting emergency plans to handle such potential disasters as hurricanes and tornadoes.
As a clinical quality-care officer, Crowe is responsible for making sure patient care is up to par. She had always wanted to be in medicine, but it took her son being born with a major heart defect to give her that final push.
"I learned a lot caring for him," she said of her son, Brian Maushardt, now 18. "It also showed me I could learn [about medical care] and do it well."
Crowe has been working in emergency services for 17 years and at Lake-Sumter EMS since July 2007.
For Parker, being a volunteer firefighter in his home state of Virginia led him into emergency services.
"I grew up in a small town and being a member of the volunteer fire department was a rite of passage," Parker said.
Lake-Sumter EMS Executive Director Jim Judge said he is proud the team was picked to serve at the inauguration.
"It says a lot of the expertise of both Lloyd and Karen," Judge said.In 2008, Lake-Sumter EMS was given the Jeffrey Harris Paid EMS Service of the Year Award by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also given similar recognition by the state.