Long-time Fort Worth paramedic loses battle with cancer




Posted on February 15, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 15 at 11:48 PM

FORT WORTH -- He was an original in so many ways; from his personality to his loyalty.

Ronnie Ferguson's first day on the job at Fort Worth-based MedStar was April 1, 1986, which was MedStar's first day in business.

"If you looked up paramedic in the dictionary, you're gonna see him," said Richard Ponikiewski of MedStar.

Ponikiewski rode with Ferguson for 17-straight years.

"He showed up at a scene or at your house, and he made sure everyone knew he was in charge," Ponikiewski said. "He was gonna take care of you. You had no more worries."

Ferguson had been a paramedic even before MedStar began. But almost three decades of dedication to his Fort Worth community ended last week.

Ferguson passed away Feb. 9, after a long battle with colon cancer.

"He fought, and fought, and fought till he couldn't fight no more," Ponikiewski said.

Before colon cancer took him, it gave him perspective. In a 2010 interview with News 8, as he was battling hard, Ferguson said, "You try not to get attached to people - get emotionally involved - but it's kinda hard to do when you can relate to what they got and you've got."

He lost 150 pounds, yet kept working even as chemo weakened his body. Fellow paramedics offered up their vacation and sick time to help him when he needed it. He had always been there for them, and they wanted to do the same for him.

"When fire, police, and everybody saw us walk in there, [they said] 'Okay, Ronnie's here. Leave 'em alone. He's got it. We've got it.' And that's the way it was," Ponikiewski said.

Ferguson's funeral is at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at McKinney Memorial Bible Church, 4805 Arborlawn in Fort Worth. Local first responders will line a processional route from the church to the burial at Cedar Hill Memorial Park.

Ferguson's body will be transported in his MedStar ambulance, unit 44. Black ribbons will adorn the vehicle and cover badges of fellow MedStar employees.

Ponikiewski believes it will be a fitting farewell to a loyal friend.

"This guy loved his job, every day," he said. "17 years together, and you really see it. This guy loved what he did."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com