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In Memoriam: James B. Allen, NAEMT Past President (1996-1998)

May 21, 2024

James Allen

NAEMT deeply mourns the passing of Jim Allen, a gentleman of the South who made friends everywhere he went. Jim loved our EMS profession and helped to build momentum for it while serving as President of NAEMT. Serving just after NAEMT’s 20-year anniversary, Jim initiated the development of NAEMT’s pediatric course (Emergency Pediatric Care) and explored a new course focused on assessing and treating emergency medical problems (Advanced Medical Life Support). He also spearheaded the launch of NAEMT’s first website.

Visitation will be held at Lakewood Funeral Home, 6011 Clinton Blvd., Jackson, MS 39209 on Wednesday May 22, 2024, from 12-2 p.m. immediately followed by chapel services.

James Barney Allen passed away on May 19, 2024, in Clinton, MS after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Jim was born on November 18, 1952, in Rolling Fork, MS. He is preceded in death by his mother, Barney Jean Allen, and his father James Lonnie Allen. Jim was a lifelong resident who took pride in being very involved with and serving his community. He leaves behind his wife, Susan, his son James Christopher, his daughter Jennifer Reese, his grandsons Hunter Allen and Leighton Reese, his granddaughter Campbell Reese, his stepsons Ben and Josh Willig and his step grandchildren Harvey and Paige.

Jim was a career firefighter and paramedic in Clinton, MS and retired as a fire captain. In the mid-1980s, Jim, a pioneer in EMS, was instrumental in bringing the paramedic program to Central, MS where at the time, the only paramedic programs were on the MS coast.

Jim's greatest joy was spending time with his family. He was so proud of his son Chris, a great father who serves as Lt. Col. in the military, his daughter Jennifer, a wonderful mother and talented interior designer. Jim's greatest pride and joy were his grandchildren. He was dedicated to helping them experience the world by sharing his love of MS State Football, life and unique learning experiences.

Jim met his wife Susan while serving as president of NAEMT (1996-1998). His love of adventure, travel and life led them to get married by Elvis in Vegas.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National EMS Memorial Foundations ( or Seasons Foundation (

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Memories from an NAEMT member:

As I reflect on the contributions of those who have significantly shaped the field of EMS, I must pay homage to Jim Allen, whose tenure as president of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians stands as a testament to his unwavering dedication and profound impact. We lost a great man, and mere words cannot reflect the loss we have suffered.

Jim was not only a leader but a beacon of kindness and integrity in the EMS community. With a heart as vast as his vision for the profession, he consistently placed patients and their care at the forefront of his efforts. Under his leadership, initiatives aimed at improving patient care saw remarkable advancements, echoing his belief that at the heart of EMS is the welfare of those in need. Education was at the forefront of Jim's mission. He believed in the power of knowledge, it was something that he believed passionately in.

His commitment extended beyond patient care, focusing on the betterment of the EMS profession as a whole. Jim understood that enhancing training, support, and resources for EMTs and paramedics meant elevating the quality of care delivered to the community. He knew that recognition, in all its forms, was more than one week out of the year. His advocacy for professional development ensured that EMS providers were equipped not only with the skills but also with the respect and recognition they deserved. Jim believed with every fiber of his being in the nobility of EMS, but more importantly in the EMTs and paramedics who perform the job day in and day out. To you, he dedicated his life.

Jim's legacy is one of compassion, leadership, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. I would hope that all leaders in EMS will continue to follow in Jim's example, so that we continue to build on the foundation he laid, we are inspired by his dedication to making a real difference in the lives of others. His impact will continue to be felt for generations to come, reminding us of the profound influence one individual can have on the betterment of our profession and, more importantly, on human lives.