Emergency medical care personnel were honored at the State Capitol Thursday as a part of National Emergency Medical Services week.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and First Lady Lisa Bullock recognized the first responders for their commitment and sacrifices made in serving their fellow Montanans.
“We are fortunate to wake up every day and feel safe in spite of possible dangers because we know we have someone to call if things go wrong,” said Bullock.
In a large, rural state like Montana, EMS provide a critical service in giving care and saving lives.
According to DPHHS, the average Montana resident will need ambulance service at least twice in his or her lifetime.
“For some of these patients, delays in receiving emergency care could contribute to death or permanent injury,” said Jim DeTienne, EMS and Trauma Systems Supervisor for DPHHS. “Montana’s system of the public trained in CPR and AEDs [automatic external defibrillators], law enforcement and fire responders, EMS and hospital teams are essential elements of health care in Montana.”
Paramedic and firefighter Sara Lewin of Mile City was recognized as the Career EMS Provider of the Year for exemplifying quality of care and dedication to the community.
After seeing an increase in drowning calls in the area, she started a Community Water Safety Awareness program.
Lewin said EMS work can be hard, but added she’s surrounded by an amazing team and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“Feeling like you’re doing a service and that you’re possibly in the right place where you need to be to help somebody even if it’s just being kind to somebody, and everyday is incredibly humbling,” said Lewin.
Awards were also presented to:
Volunteer EMS Provider of the Year Award: Francis “Topper” Giono, Jefferson Valley EMS, Whitehall. Giono has been an EMS volunteer provider in the Whitehall community since 1969 after attending his first EMT class.
EMS Service of the Year Award: Central Montana Medical Center Ambulance, Lewistown. CMMC Ambulance serves a large geographic area including Fergus, Petroleum and Judith Basin counties and has aggressively increased staffing to provide advanced life support services.
EMS Support of the Year Award: Lyndy Gurchiek, Billings area EMS community. Gurchiek has gone beyond the call to support the Billings EMS community through initial and ongoing education. Through her years as a paramedic, she has also worked ‘off the clock’ to train the next generations of EMS providers.
Award recipients were nominated by their peers for the recognition.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News