Okla. EMT Earns Star of Life Award
Stillwater NewsPress, Okla.
A Stillwater-based LifeNet emergency medical technician was named one of 100 EMTs nationwide to receive the 2018 Star of Life award.
Casey Dodson, who has been an EMT for 17 years and worked with LifeNet since 2011, traveled to Washington D.C. along with other Star of Life recipients to visit with congressional leaders and share challenges and issues he and other EMTs have seen within the industry.
LifeNet awards an EMT within its Stillwater division annually with the Star of Life award, saved for those who go “above and beyond” in their service. According to the American Ambulance Association, “the Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.”
“Most people in EMS did not get into it for the glory,” Dodson told Congressman Frank Lucas during his D.C. visit, according to a LifeNet media release. “I can’t speak for everyone obviously, but I got into this field with the idea of helping people and stayed in it because it’s a job that has to be done.”
Dodson is a regular participant of the Stillwater community as a member and officer of Stillwater Elks Lodge and helped create a new EMS delivery model for Stillwater and surrounding communities when he joined LifeNet.
Kelly McCauley, LifeNet’s general manager of its Stillwater division, said upon creation the new model allows for stable system funding and for LifeNet to purchase up-to-date equipment.
“The previous model was city government-based, while the new model is more globally orientated and retains a focus on all communities in the service area,” McCauley said. “In late 2009, a group known today as the Western Payne County Ambulance Trust Authority (WPCATA) was formed to evaluate the EMS needs of the community. They were charged with both selecting an EMS agency and providing ongoing system oversight. WPCATA board members are named by key representative groups from The City of Stillwater, The City of Perkins and Town of Glencoe, The Payne County Commissioners, Stillwater Medical Center, and Oklahoma State University.
“Another change involved system funding. When EMS was managed by the City of Stillwater, tax dollars were used and funding for EMS was threatened by the economic challenges that communities experience. The WPCATA model created the Resident Benefit Program (RBP), where citizens can choose to support quality EMS funding while also receiving a significant benefit in the event members of their household require ambulance care and transport. Some funds from the RBP pay a subsidy to LifeNet that go towards providing more ambulance crews than would be possible if EMS funding were based solely on user fees.”
McCauley said Dodson is frequently paired with new employees during field training and employee development due to his ability to “handle any scenario or difficult scene,” according to his coworkers. “A new medic can be comforted knowing that if Casey is his partner, the shift will go well,” McCauley said.