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Exemplary Service: Winners of the 2018 National EMS Awards of Excellence

Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad Volunteer Service of the Year
Leon County EMS Dick Ferneau Career Service of the Year
Jeremy Sonenschein, Jones Bartlett Learning EMS Educator of the Year
Peter Antevy Bound Tree Medical Director of the Year
Stephen Meyer North American Rescue EMS Military Medic of the Year
Steven Kroll Braun EMS EMT of the Year
Angela Hamilton Nasco EMS Paramedic of the Year

NAEMT and EMS World are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 National EMS Awards of  Excellence. The awards will be presented during NAEMT’s General Membership Meeting Oct. 30, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn., and on Oct. 31 during EMS World Expo’s opening ceremony.

We congratulate the following recipients and recognize their outstanding contributions to the EMS profession and the patients they serve. Meet this year’s winners in person at EMS World Expo, Oct. 29–Nov. 2 in Nashville. 

NAEMT/Nasco Paramedic of the Year (sponsored by Nasco)

Angela Hamilton, Paramedic, Wichita, Kan.

Angela Hamilton has been with Sedgwick County EMS in Wichita, Kan., for 19 years. She began her career as a volunteer EMT and moved to full time in 2001 after earning her associate degree and paramedic certification.

As a team leader, Hamilton motivated EMS crew members to become better clinicians and served as a preceptor for many paramedic students. “There are few providers in our service who demonstrate the values of servant leadership as well as she does,” says Col. Paul Misasi, paramedic and quality manager for SCEMS.

Hamilton was nominated by Rosa Spainhour, director of Kiowa County EMS, and supported by Joseph House, director of the Kansas Board of EMS, after receiving the Kansas EMS Association 2017 Paramedic of the Year Award. Hamilton is a patient care advocate and supports EMS education. She embraces a “just culture” management philosophy to facilitate personal safety among coworkers and identify areas for improvement. She seeks opportunities that will challenge her to be a better paramedic and leader. In October 2017 Hamilton was promoted to QA education coordinator at SCEMS, where she continues to foster leadership throughout the organization. Hamilton cares deeply about the service SCEMS provides to the community, the profession and professionalism of EMS, and the people with whom she works. 

NAEMT/Braun Industries EMT of the Year (sponsored by Braun Industries)

Steven Kroll, MHA, EMT, Delmar, N.Y. 

Steven Kroll, MHA, EMT, serves as chief of Delmar-Bethlehem EMS (DBEMS) in New York. He has been an EMT since 1982. Kroll has developed a positive work environment at DBEMS by blending career and volunteer staff. He led the development of quality initiatives and incorporated continuing education as a means of improving patient care and the agency’s workforce.

Michael Dailey, MD, regional EMS medical director, nominated Kroll and commended him for being an EMS leader, true professional, and patient care advocate. Kroll serves on the executive board of the Hudson Mohawk Regional EMS Council and Regional Emergency Medical Organization, and as chair of the council’s Budget and Finance Committee. Kroll is immediate past chair of the New York State Emergency Medical Services Council, which advises the state government on EMS issues. He is an advocate for person-centered EMS through the collaboration of prehospital providers, the broader healthcare system, and social services.

Kroll’s experience in healthcare management and government affairs inspires him to improve EMS, and he maintains the skill set to help others improve as well. Terence Hannigan, EMT, says, “The value of Steve’s leadership cannot be overstated in creating the success of DBEMS and the benefits the agency provides to our community.”

NAEMT/North American Rescue Military Medic of the Year (sponsored by North American Rescue)

Stephen Meyer, Staff Sergeant, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Stephen Meyer is a paramedic and staff sergeant (SSG) in the U.S. Army, recently serving as senior medic for the 75th Ranger Regiment. He was deployed for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel as a special operations strike force senior medic and medical advisor to the Afghanistan special operations force. SSG Meyer provided medical support and training to junior medics to ensure the highest level of readiness. He received a commendation medal with “C” device for exceptional achievement in support of the operation.

SSG Meyer’s advanced training enabled him to treat severe wounds, administer tranexamic acid (TXA), apply tourniquets, perform invasive procedures on severely injured casualties, and safely move them to a secure location. “SSG Meyer is the epitome of selfless service,” says Maj. Charles Moore, MD, adding in his nomination letter that in spite of being immobilized and in pain with his own injury, Meyer continued his care of injured comrades brought to him. Meyer was later awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action. Moore further says, “SSG Meyer’s superior professionalism, expertise, and unwavering commitment to excellence have and continue to save lives on the battlefield. If injured on the battlefield, SSG Meyer is the medic I would want to see running toward me to save my life.” 

NAEMT/Bound Tree EMS Medical Director of the Year (sponsored by Bound Tree Medical)

Peter Antevy, MD, Davie, Fla.

Peter Antevy, MD, has served as medical director for a number of EMS agencies throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Dade Counties in Florida since 2010 and has contributed significantly to advancing the quality of care delivered. Antevy is also a longstanding medical director for two paramedic training programs and several mobile integrated healthcare (MIH) programs. Colleague Capt. Petar Hossick says, “Dr. Antevy has taken commitment to clinical excellence in EMS to a whole new level by guiding the critical decision-making skills of his paramedics throughout their careers.”

Antevy has authored studies and spearheaded a system used to expedite resuscitative care for children. “Dr. Antevy has made very significant contributions that have improved the emergency care of children and their families,” says EMS Chief Juan Cardona of the Coral Springs/Parkland Fire Department.

Board-certified in both EMS and pediatric emergency medicine, Antevy has received many awards, including the prestigious Ron J. Anderson Memorial Award, for his efforts to improve the outcomes of critically ill and injured children. He is involved in his departments’ continuous quality improvement (CQI) programs and has seen dramatic improvements in the outcomes of cardiac arrest patients. This year he helped bring the Seattle “Resuscitation Academy” to Florida and has demonstrated a significant impact on prehospital cardiac arrest outcomes. Antevy has pioneered initiatives including the placement of severe-bleeding kits in AED cabinets and the creation of the Florida Stroke Registry. Davie Fire Rescue Chief Julie Downey says, “Dr. Antevy has been a strong leader at the local, state, and national levels and has been the spark that has created positive change in so many aspects of EMS.”

NAEMT/Jones & Bartlett Learning EMS Educator of the Year (sponsored by Jones & Bartlett Learning)

Jeremy Sonenschein, Las Vegas, Nev.

Jeremy Sonenschein is emergency preparedness coordinator at Las Vegas’ Valley Hospital Medical Center and teaches on topics including emergency/disaster preparedness, health science, CPR, first aid, decontamination/hazardous-materials training, and emergency response. He holds a master’s degree in higher education administration and a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology/sports medicine. For nearly 20 years, Sonenschein has been a paramedic, also working as an EMS/fire science instructor for various educational institutions and disaster relief organizations.

A notable achievement was his creation of an accredited fire/EMS training program at Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, Calif., which began primarily with financial donations. Sonenschein’s program remains the EMS training model for all of Los Angeles Unified School District and its neighboring districts. Former colleague David Tuckman says, “Jeremy deserves recognition for his limitless devotion to this program, but more for his altruistic and unwavering passion for training tomorrow’s heroes today.”

Sonenschein has dedicated his life to helping others through disaster relief efforts as a volunteer firefighter/first responder, answering the call to serve at national disasters, including the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. Sonenschein is a licensed pilot and has volunteered his time and medical equipment to help children and families in need.

Volunteer EMS Service of the Year (sponsored by ZOLL)

Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, Virginia Beach, Va.

The Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad serves the emergency medical needs of the busy coastal destination of Virginia Beach. Home to an active military and tourist population, the town is served by 10 volunteer rescue squads, and the 175-member Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad donates over 45,000 hours of volunteer operational and support time yearly.

“The rescue squad has crews running out of two stations and responds to over 14,000 calls each year,” explains Doris Foster, the squad’s historian. All operational members commit to 48 hours per month, and support members volunteer 12. All services are provided free of charge; no patients are billed. Funding for the squad comes from fund drives and state and local grants. They also receive funds from memorial donations from community members. “This is a multimillion dollar business that is run on a day-to-day basis by volunteers and the commitment of community leaders,” says Foster, adding that the agency covers medical support for large-scale events in the bustling region, including parades, marathons, music festivals, and beachside celebrations.

Community education includes safety and first aid training at schools and civic organizations as well as proper beach, water, and hurricane practices. An innovative digital dashboard accessible to all members details fleet and equipment status, SOPs, bylaws, member “shout-outs,” and other agency news. The Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad works closely with other volunteer squads to share best practices and promote the value of volunteer EMS agencies across the country. A squad chaplain provides emotional support to crew members, and an EMS honor guard represents the department when a member of the public safety community is lost in the line of duty.

“Virginia Beach is a safer place to live because of the volunteer medical support and community outreach,” says Foster. “The rescue squad’s mission statement emphasizes reliable service, quality training, cooperative alliances, and community awareness.”

2018 Dick Ferneau Career EMS Service of the Year (sponsored by Ferno)

Leon County Division of EMS, Leon County, Fla.

Leon County EMS is a progressive department delivering advanced life support, critical care, tactical medicine, special event coverage, and community risk reduction services to the citizenry of Florida’s “Capital County,” which includes the state capital of Tallahassee as well as two of the state’s major universities—Florida A&M and Florida State University.

As the sole provider of emergency ambulance service in the county, this busy team of 122 full-time and 40 part-time personnel runs over 40,000 calls per year. A fleet of 30 ambulances, three supervisor SUVs, four command vehicles, two MCI units, and special events carts delivers care to a population of almost 300,000.

In just its 14th year of operation, Leon County EMS has garnered an impressive list of community awards and recognitions, including accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, a Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus EMS Award from the American Heart Association, and EMS Provider of the Year from the Florida Dept. of Health. “The most important element is our people,” says Chad Abrams, chief of EMS for Leon County EMS. Staff members of Leon County EMS benefit from a strong employee-first culture featuring perks such as a professional development program based on the FEMA model, paid parental leave, competitive reimbursement, 100% tuition reimbursement, a LiveWell well-being program, employee sports teams, a fitness center, employee recognition awards, and a comprehensive benefits package. A domestic and sexual violence/stalking program provides workplace protections to service members.

Community outreach is a central mission of the department as well, and includes the Heart Ready Initiative, an AED registry, CPR training, safety fairs, and awareness events. Collaboration with a local social service referral system connects Leon County EMS with at-risk populations in need of preventive and ongoing care. “To be recognized by NAEMT, an organization with more than four decades of experience in the emergency medicine field, demonstrates our paramedics and EMTs are some of the best in their field,” says Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “This distinction highlights our ongoing training and innovations to improve prehospital care and outcomes. And these successes are made possible because of our exemplary leadership team at EMS and our commitment to quality emergency care.”

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