The Business of Second Chances


“It’s never too late to change your life.”

To claim EMS is in the business of second chances would be an understatement. But while the first thought that comes to mind upon hearing that may be pictures of patients clinging to life, many of those on the other side of the ambulance have found just as much hope in emergency medicine. This rings especially true for Emmanuel “Manny” Pineda, an EMT who joined Lancaster EMS last August.

Manny grew up in Yonkers, New York. He’s the oldest of three boys on his mother’s side, but with his dad having walked out when he was very young, there’s little clue to who exactly now makes up the other half of his family tree.

The tide began to turn more harshly in his teenage years, “Back when I was in high school I made a lot of bad decisions.” In the wake of bullying and academic struggles, a cynical verdict began to take root, “I believed that I didn’t have an opportunity to progress into someone better…I always saw myself as someone who was just not meant to make it out of where I came from.”

Though his dream was always to become a paramedic, after graduating high school in 2020, Manny entered the workforce as a car salesman. But two years in, dissatisfaction persisted. Like many of us who’ve found ourselves living inauthentically at one point or another, a realization bubbled up inside: I was meant for more than this. With a child of his own on the way and a desire for something more meaningful, he began to look into EMT training. That’s when he found out about Lancaster EMS.

“I joined EMS because I enjoy being a part of the reason why people get a second chance at life…You never know what the other person is going through, one little act of kindness and care goes a long way, and that’s who I am as a person, and as an EMS provider.”

Past the Patch is an employee spotlight series led by Allison Connelly, Marketing Director, profiling the people who make up Lancaster EMS through pictures and interviews. It’s our hope that this project will not only give providers the space to open up and tell their own stories, but also give our community the chance to know us more intimately as an organization. Crossposted at