For Nelson BC physician Dr. Nicholas Sparrow, it all started as a youngster, when his two-year old sister’s life was saved at the scene of her near-drowning.

Today, the good doctor, who began medical school at the age of 17 in his native England, has saved many lives on his own.

Sparrow is the physician who spearheaded the Kootenay Emergency Response Physicians Association (KERPA) — one of very few programs like it in Canada.

Dressed head to toe in high visibility, all-weather emergency response gear, and equipped with a truck packed with expensive life-saving equipment, Sparrow — a full time ER doctor at Kootenay Lake Hospital and father — has answered over 500 calls since KERPA began.

In many cases he is the first on the scene of terrible accidents, alone with victims, before paramedics, fire and police arrive.