Local EMTS honored during Black History Month

March 13, 2024

On Monday, February 26, Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee met with two distinguished members of the local medical community to thank them for their service and recognize their significant contributions to the city during Black History Month.

Ernest Hollingsworth and Thomas R. Hosey were recognized by Mayor Magee with a proclamation signing at City Hall in honor of their long, fruitful careers in Emergency Medical Services.

Hollingsworth, who served as a medical responder for 40 years, began his career in medicine with the aim of becoming a physician. However, when his parents got sick, he paused his studies in order to take care of them. During that time, he learned about the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) program and decided to pursue his career in medical care through that route. This led him to becoming an EMT, an EMT-Intermediate, and ultimately a paramedic. He became the first Black EMT in Jones County.

He recalled that this was difficult at first because it was the 1970s and on some calls “they would not want you to help because of who you were,” he said. However, those calls became fewer and farther between as things improved. Over the next four decades, Hollingsworth was able to help people from all walks of life throughout Laurel and Jones County.

“In this field, it takes a lot of courage and dedication,” he said. “You’re not going to get rich but it is gratifying helping the community.” Part of what makes the profession difficult is being on scene where a tragedy has occurred, he explained. He was especially saddened to respond to incidents that involved babies and children being injured. “It gets to you,” he said.

Thomas R. Hosey knew that he wanted to be a paramedic long before he joined the EMT program. Hosey recalled seeing Bill Cosby play a paramedic on television and thought that it would be an interesting job to have. However, he took a circuitous route. At the beginning of his career, he worked for Ingall’s Shipbuilding for six years before returning home to Laurel and getting a job as a hospital orderly. From there, he transferred to being a ER tech, and then joined the EMT program ultimately completing the EMT, EMT-Intermediate, and paramedic programs. “Thirty-six years later, I retired,” he said. During his career he was able to befriend many of his patients especially those whom he took to dialysis treatments multiple times per week. “You get real familiar with them and when they die, you feel the pain just as the family does,” he recalled.

His favorite story from his years of service happened in 1994 when he was working in Pearl River County. He and his partner responded to a call to help a man who had been injured. The man was so happy with the services that he received, that he decided to recognize the paramedics who helped him. The man was Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards who presented Hosey and his co-worker a Governor’s Award.

Both men stated that it was nice to be recognized by the City of Laurel for their work. “It feels good to know that we are appreciated. We know that the community appreciates us,” Hosey said but pointed out that the official recognition from the city “is a real honor.”

Hollingsworth encouraged those who may be interested in pursuing a medical career in emergency services to “go for it!”

“You’ve got to have the heart and dedication for it. It’s hard work,” he said.

The proclamation read as follows:

Whereas, during Black History Month we take time to reflect and recognize the significant contributions of Black Americans across various fields; and

Whereas, emergency medical service professionals play a vital role in safeguarding our communities, responding to crises, and providing critical medical care; and

Whereas, the contributions of Black emergency medical services professionals deserve recognition; and

Whereas, locally we are pleased to recognize two EMS professionals, Ernest Hollingsworth and Thomas R. Hosey, who have served our community with great skill and compassion for many years; and

Whereas, Ernest Hollingsworth began his career in emergency care in the early 1970s and became the first black Emergency Medical Technician in Jones County continuing his training and education to become a Paramedic and working for four decades in Laurel and Jones County in the field of emergency medical services; and

Whereas, Thomas R. Hosey began his career in EMS in the 1980s, first earning certification as an EMT and then achieving Paramedic certification and working 36 years in emergency medical services: and

Whereas, both of these men have shown courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment in their professions and have left an indelible mark on our community by their many years of service

Now, therefore, I, Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, do hereby recognize Ernest Hollingsworth and Thomas R. Hosey during Black History Month and encourage all citizens to join me in showing our appreciation and gratitude to these men and all emergency medical service professionals who have devoted their lives to the service of others.

In witness, thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Laurel, Mississippi, to be affixed this the 26th day of February, A.D. 2024.


The City of Laurel, established as a lumber town in 1882, is conveniently situated approximately two hours from larger destination cities such as Jackson, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Mobile. In recent years, the city has become a destination all its own thanks, in part, to its starring role in HGTV’s popular “Hometown” series. As Laurel, and interest in it, continues to grow, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to help all of our residents and businesses reach their full potential.
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