Sharon Hoy may be Wyoming County's most widely known woman.
Up to now, this low-key, 46-year-old mother of three has gained recognition as an emergency medical technician, teacher and organizer in her home town, her home county and in the adjacent counties of Erie and Genesee.
And she has made state health officials in Albany take notice of Wyoming County -- to the point of sending money to the county.
Next October, Mrs. Hoy will learn and teach in China.
A University of Hawaii professor invited her to join a delegation of pediatric emergency-medicine specialists who will act as citizen ambassadors. During a 16-day trip, they will engage in professional and personal exchanges with Chinese emergency-treatment personnel in Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
"I have no idea who nominated me," said Mrs. Hoy, the only New Yorker to join the 30-person group. "But I do believe that what goes around comes around."
Most of Mrs. Hoy's go-rounds have been volunteer efforts. To be sure, she does have a full-time job.
For the last 10 years, she's been the rural mail carrier to 491 box holders in Bennington, Cowlesville and Attica, a task that keeps her going from 7 a.m. to late in the afternoon.
After that, the volunteering begins.
It all began in 1977, when she helped organize the Bennington Rescue Squad and took her initial first-aid course. It took another three years before Mrs. Hoy and her colleagues raised enough money through raffles, donations and other fund-raising schemes to finance the purchase of an ambulance for Bennington.
"It's not just me -- lots of us are in it," she said.
Since then, she has studied, achieving ratings as an emergency medical technician. In 1985, she earned an advanced EMT rating.
And she's still learning.
"I just completed a course in intubation," she said. "That's the technique of putting a tube in someone's trachea to allow breathing to continue."
Asked why she continues to expand her skills, she said: "It's interesting, I enjoy it and besides, it keeps me sharp."
Mrs. Hoy also noted that at the Darien Lakes theme park, where she has been employed for nine years as a first-aid attendant, idleness is happiness.
"If we sit there . . . a whole night and no one needs help, I love it," she said. "That means everyone has had a good time and that's the best."
In 1982, Mrs. Hoy started Wyoming County's Emergency Services Program. It now has 144 emergency medical technicians and advanced life-support units in five squads.
They're not physicians, but don't argue that point to anyone who has cheated death because of an EMT's timely presence, knowledge and skills.
Her efforts have put Wyoming County on the state Health Department map, enabling its emergency services program to receive half of the $5,000 that the state previously paid only to Erie County's emergency service.
"Our rescue squad gets about one call a week," she said.
Asked if dealing with injured persons bothers here, she said: "The sight of blood and broken bones once would have made me pass out. Now it doesn't. But injured children bother me. When I see them, I do my work. I cry later."
And while her hometown partiality to Bennington and Wyoming County are understandable, Sharon Hoy has attended and taught classes at Erie Community College -- both campuses -- and in the fire halls of Wyoming, Erie and Genesee counties.
She's a full-fledged, trained Bennington firefighter and pumper operator. The Bennington Fire Company has about 60 active members, but only about eight are available during the day.
She's also homemaker for her husband, Jim, and their three children.
Recently, Sharon and Jim built a deck for their new pool. They built their home a few years ago.
Mrs. Hoy says her family is supportive of her vocation.
"My husband, Jim, helps a lot," she said. "I couldn't do all this without him.
Their children, Julie, 25, Jim Jr., 23, and Jay, 14, pitch in, too.
Her brother, Supervisor Roy H. Haller Jr. of Orangeville, is another booster.
When Sharon's nomination for the travel honor first was announced, Haller persuaded her to list her skills. He then added his own comment:
"Her qualifications are more extensive than she presented."