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Frank Giampetro Receives 2003 Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award

Premier Health Care Services’ Coordinator for Emergency Medical Services at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, OH, and Mercy Memorial Hospital in Urbana, Frank Giampetro, has received the 2003 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Champaign County (OH) Chapter of the American Red Cross. He is also a member of the regional faculty for the Columbus Children’s Hospital—a nationally renowned pediatric facility—as an Advanced Trauma Life Support instructor. Giampetro has been involved in the provision of emergency medical services for more than 45 years. He was certified as a paramedic in 1980.

Red Cross awards committee member John Flora, MD, a retired surgeon, says his longtime Mercy colleague was “an obvious choice” for the highest award that a local chapter can award to someone in their community. “Frank’s had an unusual impact on emergency medical services in this area because of his ability as a teacher and an organizer and administrator. He’s a unique individual and able to boil things down to their basics—he’s a natural-born educator.”

Champaign County law enforcement, EMS and firefighters agree, presenting Giampetro with their own Hero of the Year Award at the Red Cross ceremony held in February 2004.

Giampetro is in demand in and outside of Ohio for his innovative instruction and specialized training in vehicle extraction, trench rescue and other specialized programs. “He’ll get a bunch of junk cars, school buses, RVs and so forth,” explains Flora, “and have paramedics come in from the surrounding areas and tear these apart with an eye toward victim extrication. That’s just one example.”

Giampetro’s entry into EMS holds the key to his teaching technique and his dedication. A band director for the 101st Airborne, he started as a high school band teacher right out of the service. “I loved it,” he said, but he couldn’t raise a family on the income. “I needed to get another job if I was going to keep doing it.” So began his stint as a summer replacement firefighter for the Urbana Fire Department on the first day of June, 1959.

As he tells of his first call that day, “I had never been in an ambulance; I had never been in the hospital; I’d never seen a sick or injured person before. And I was in charge of taking care of the patients.”

He never looked back. For the next 27 years, he taught band by day and fought fires whenever school was out—sometimes paid, sometimes volunteer. He still remembers thinking, “I could do this forever. A couple times, I had to make a choice between leaving teaching and staying in the fire service or doing both at the same time—and when push came to shove, I couldn’t leave teaching.”

He did retire from the high school in 1986, but never from teaching. These days he runs over 100 events a year in and around Ohio, teaching paramedics and EMTs.

The Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award celebrates voluntary service, extraordinary humanity toward others and philanthropic support to the local Red Cross and communities served. “He’s a giver,” says Flora, “and still hard at work at age 70.”

—KR

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