Skip to main content

2016 National EMS Awards of Excellence Recipients Announced

Ft, Atkinson, Wis. — EMS World and NAEMT are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 National EMS Awards of Excellence.

The awards will be presented during NAEMT’s General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 4, in New Orleans, La., and on Oct. 5, during EMS World Expo’s opening ceremony. We congratulate the following recipients and recognize their outstanding contributions to emergency medical care:

  • 2016 Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year, sponsored by Ferno: New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Transport Services, Wilmington, N. Carolina
  • 2016 Volunteer EMS Service of the Year, sponsored by ZOLL: Valhalla Volunteer Ambulance Corps, New York City
  • 2016 NAEMT/Nasco Paramedic of the Year, sponsored by Nasco: Bryn Arnold, Paramedic, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 2016 NAEMT/Braun Industries EMT of the Year, sponsored by Braun Industries: Nicole Richards, EMT, Burlington, Colorado 
  • 2016 NAEMT/Jones & Bartlett Learning EMS Educator of the Year, sponsored by Jones & Bartlett Learning: Leaugeay Barnes, Paramedic, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • 2016 NAEMT/North American Rescue Military Medic of the Year, sponsored by North American Rescue: Ernest Parrish, Paramedic/SOCOM Medic, Sergeant, U.S. Army, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Washington

New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Transport Services is an integrated system with unique divisions for 9-1-1 response, critical care transport and non-emergent transport. NHRMC ETS operates 45 ground emergency vehicles and two helicopters that cover more than 1.1 million miles a year. It employs more than 200 medical and administrative staff and responded to more than 47,000 requests for transport services in 2013. Its clinical innovations include state-of-the-art intervention processes and collaborations for lethal conditions like cardiac arrest, stroke and sepsis; streamlined care for mental health patients and crisis intervention training for front-line staff; and use of emerging medications like naloxone (in concert with law enforcement) and tranexamic acid. Its operational best practices include plans (supplemented by training and close cooperation with law enforcement) for active-shooter and high-threat situations; a robust community paramedic program to reduce hospital admissions (as well as a nurse help line); partnership with an emergency medicine pharmacist; accreditation by the College of American Pathologists as the country’s first mobile laboratory service; quality improvement mechanisms that include real-time anonymous reporting of errors and near-misses; a sustained emphasis on research, with multiple publications; participation with local, regional, state and national entities to foster better care; and a focus on safety that encompasses patient lifting/movement, the ambulance environment and employee health.

Since 1961, nine years before EMS was chartered in New York City, the Valhalla Volunteer Ambulance Corps has been responding to emergencies. Providing prehospital services has been difficult at times, says Sue Briggs, who earns a living as a nurse practitioner when she’s not serving as a Second Lieutenant at VVAC. “When I came here 12 years ago, we couldn’t manage our call volume with volunteers alone. It was particularly hard during the day. We had to hire an EMT or driver to fill in about 60 hours a week.” Given the growing use of paid providers by other EMS organizations since then, it wouldn’t be surprising if Valhalla’s reliance on per-diem people had been increasing. According to Briggs, though, VVAC has moved in the opposite direction. “As of about five years ago, we were down to 12 paid hours a week,” she says. “Now we’re at zero. We’ve been all volunteer since 2014.” The squad has embraced a number of prehospital interventions that had once been ALS only. “We’ve been doing glucometry for two years and added Narcan about a year ago,” says Briggs, who also says modernization isn’t limited to the field; Valhalla has been working on integrating ePCR for 18 months. “It cost us about $11,000 to get ePCR up and running. The state seems to be pretty happy with our progress, though; they’ve given us a grade of 97% which, according to them, is very good – especially for newbies.”

Nominees for the Service of the Year Awards are scored on the following: advances in EMS education and training in the agency; innovations in prehospital care and protocol development implemented by the agency; medical community involvement with the agency; EMS system/program upgrades implemented by the agency; worker safety and well-being programs implemented by the agency; injury- and illness-prevention projects implemented by the agency; and public-education project sponsorships the agency is involved in.

Bryn Arnold works for Indianapolis EMS and was nominated by Tom Arkins, IEMS’s Section Chief who said, “She is one of those paramedics who has the gift of being great at her job. She is not only a stellar clinical provider; she is an overall great person. Bryn shows compassion for all of her patients no matter the circumstances.” Arnold has been acknowledged for her leadership skills and for taking new employees, students and observers under her guidance. “When they spend time with her, I know that they are not only receiving good clinical education but are also being taught humanity, humility and compassion for patients,” continued Arkins. This year, Arnold was awarded the Indiana EMS for Children’s Pediatric Hero Award for keeping a child calm and comfortable in the emergency department. Joseph Calwell, a colleague, wrote: “Bryn understands that 90% of this job isn’t about high priority or critical runs. Ninety percent is holding peoples’ hands when they are scared and telling them that no matter what happens, we are prepared to help them.”

Nicole Richards, a dedicated volunteer EMT for Kit Carson County Ambulance Service, has used her own physical and personal pain to provide better care to her patients. “Her commitment and compassion for patients, as well as her personality, were cemented into her character after being a trauma patient herself,” said Scott Sholes, president of the EMS Association of Colorado, an organization in which Richards is a member. A letter submitted by the Kit Carson County Board of Commissioners stated, “She has a gift for helping patients remain calm during treatment. As an EMT, she has the utmost regard for her patients and after they have been delivered to the hospital, follows up to see how they are faring.” Richards is outgoing and consistently seeks ways to improve her skills and knowledge. A former patient said, “She is a prime example of all Kit Carson County Ambulance Service represents.”

Leaugeay Barnes, EMS program director at Tulsa Community College, helped develop TCC’s online hybrid and traditional EMS programs and training partnerships with local fire and police agencies. She has guided paramedic students to become instructors, was involved in the National Registry of EMT’s (NREMT) psychomotor competency portfolio project, and has served on the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) Board of Directors and as a representative to the NREMT Board. According to Jeffrey Goodloe, medical director, “She has proven to instill a sense of duty and drive in her faculty and students.” Barnes is an editor and has written articles for several industry publications. She also received an Oklahoma EMT Association’s educator of the year award. “I have never observed an educator genuinely care so much about each individual student. She will do anything to help a student be successful,” stated Joseph Sherrell, EMS officer, City of Tulsa.”

Sgt. Ernest Parrish distinguished himself while serving in Afghanistan where he, despite his own wounds, treated and coordinated the medical evacuation of three very seriously wounded casualties. Medical Director Charles Moore stated, “Sergeant Parrish’s superior professionalism, expertise and unwavering commitment to excellence contributed saving the lives of these three casualties.” General Daniel Allyn, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, referred to Sgt. Parrish in a speech citing “the amazing passion, creativity and skill of Army Ranger medics.” Sgt. Parrish loves to teach and has served as an Advanced Ranger First Responder (A-RFR) instructor on four separate occasions. He believes in the importance of developing junior medics and conducting special training to ensure they are trained and prepared for whatever they encounter on the battlefield. Sgt. Parrish works to expand his medical proficiency and has a passion for prolonged field care. Gen. Allyn once remarked, “There is not another Army on this planet that provides the same level of medical care as ours does, and that amazing care is due to our outstanding military medics, like Ranger Sgt. Ernie Parrish.”

Nominees for the Paramedic and EMT of the Year Awards are scored on how the nominee: provides superior patient care; is an effective advocate for patients and their families; works with peers to foster a positive work environment; demonstrates professionalism in interacting with patients, their families and other medical professionals; and demonstrates a commitment to continuing professional education.

Nominations for the Educator of the Year Award are scored on how the nominee: consistently demonstrates commitment to providing high quality, professional education for EMS practitioners; serves as an outstanding role model for EMS practitioners in the classroom and in the community; effectively mentors EMS students at all stages of their professional development; introduces and incorporates innovative approaches and tools in the classroom, which enhance students' learning experiences; and contributes and participates in the development of education content that expands the body of quality EMS curriculum.

Nominees for the Military Medic of the Year Award are recognized military medics (MOS-qualified active, reserve or National Guard U.S. Army Medic, Navy Corpsman or Air Force Medic) who demonstrate excellence in the performance of military emergency medicine, with their primary role being that of theater patient care.

About EMS World

As the industry’s first prehospital publication, EMS World has the reputation and body of work EMS providers have trusted for more than 44 years. With the highest circulation in the industry, the publication’s primary audience is EMS chiefs, administrators and paramedics. As the leading EMS services portal, delivers breaking news 24/7 and exclusive online education and training for all levels of EMS practitioners, as well as the most comprehensive listing of EMS products, services and technologies in the industry. Contact: Nancy Perry, 800/547-7377, ext. 1110,


Formed in 1975 and more than 55,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians is the only national association representing the professional interests of all emergency and mobile healthcare practitioners. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings, and in the military. Contact: Kathleen Taormina, 800/346-2368,


Back to Top