Stars of Life - 2014
Every year AMR sends some of its best and brightest caregivers to the American Ambulance Association’s Stars of Life award ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Stars of Life award recognizes and celebrates the achievements of individuals working in the ambulance industry. It is the highest award an EMS caregiver can receive.
Paramedics, EMTs, communications center employees and other front-line staff may be nominated as a Star of Life. During their time in the nation’s capital, Stars of Life recipients meet with members of Congress on Capital Hill where they have the opportunity to speak with their representatives and senators about the importance of maintaining quality ambulance service in our nation’s communities.
AMR’s Stars of Life recipients are chosen based on their demonstrated commitment to AMR’s vision and core values, significant accomplishments during the previous year, their ability to represent AMR in public venues such as congressional visits, local media opportunities and speaking events, and their demonstrated ability to work as a team member.
Every year AMR honors its best with Stars of Life Awards. The awards are presented by the American Ambulance Association in Washington, D.C. This year, AMR is sending 13 caregivers to the annual event on March 18-20, 2013.
For more information visit http://www.the-aaa.org.
Congratulations to all of the award recipients!
Emergency Medical Technician
Dallas became an EMT in August 2009 after losing a close family member in a motor vehicle crash. She felt helpless after her loss, so she decided to become an EMT and thought it would be a great way to help others. Dallas was hired by AMR Massachusetts in July 2010 where she gained experience running both IFT and 911 calls.
Dallas transferred to the D.C. operation in 2012 after moving to the area and obtaining her National Registry EMT certification. While working at AMR, Dallas became interested in various aspects of EMS, so she applied to a local community hospital in Southern, MD. Dallas is in a dual position at the hospital, holding job titles of Hyperbaric Safety Director and Hyperbaric Chamber Technologist.
Dallas hopes to further her career in EMS, so she now attends paramedic school at the College of Southern, MD. She is currently in her second semester. Dallas is a highly motivated individual and has hopes of obtaining an Associate’s Degree in EMS within two years. Since 2012, Dallas has been an active member of AMR’s Emergency Response Team and hopes to be deployed if needed.
Emergency Medical Technician
Global Medical Response Trinidad & Tobago
Deonarine joined Global Medical Response of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (GMRTT) in 2005 as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Every day he demonstrates his commitment and expertise as an Emergency Medical Technician as he sets the standard for the organization. Deonarine is currently an EMT Preceptor and is responsible for the training and development of newly certified EMTs. This program nurtures skills, offers professional guidance and ensures clinical expectations among staff are met and helps provides customer service skills. This new role revealed Deonarine’s gift as a gifted teacher and role model. Deonarine was active in the 2013 World AMR Compression Only CPR Challenge, and since the event he has been conducting CPR training to communities, schools and non-profit organizations on a voluntary basis. He is currently finalizing his CPR Instructor Certification with the National Safety Council and is in the process of pursuing the American Heart Association First Aid & CPR Instructor Certification.
In addition to being a full time, nationally-registered EMT, Deonarine has also been a lifeguard with the Trinidad and Tobago Lifeguard Service for the past 10 years. When he is not working for GMRTT, Deonarine spends his weekends and holidays protecting the beaches of Trinidad. He is also a Lifeguard Training Instructor for both swimming pool and open waters. Deonarine has received the Trinidad & Tobago Life Saving Society’s Award of Merit and Bronze Medallion. Deonarine is also a certified aerobics and fitness instructor and provides fitness training and instruction voluntarily in his community. Deonarine is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Reserve.
Deonarine is a husband and father of four. He is described as a humble, outgoing individual and contributes in any way he can to his co-workers, his community, and even patients and their relatives. Deonarine says he loves swimming, fishing, cycling, running, basketball and working out in the gym.
Emergency Medical Technician / Field Training Officer
The night of July 31, 2013, EMT Jonathan Blackwell visibly demonstrated the bond between members of an ambulance crew. That night, Jonathan and his partner, Jennifer Hesselbein, were evaluating a patient lying in the middle of the street. Suddenly, Jonathan saw a vehicle veer across the double yellow line and head straight towards them. He yanked Jennifer from certain death. The out-of-control vehicle killed their patient and nearly killed Jennifer, knocking her under the ambulance. Jonathan pulled her from beneath ambulance, called for backup and helped her until more AMR crews arrived.
Jonathan was unharmed but Jennifer suffered numerous severe injuries from head to toe on her left side. She underwent 18 surgeries. She spent months in a surgical ICU and weeks at a rehab hospital. She went home in a wheelchair on December 5. Almost every day, Jonathan was at the hospital, doing anything he could for “Jenn” and her family. He helped organize and conduct fundraisers to defray Jennifer’s medical expenses. Jonathan speaks about his experience at EMT classes and first responder courses as part of safety education.
Known to everyone as “Popcorn,” Jonathan became an EMT in 2011. He was promoted to field training officer last year. He is openly admired by his co-workers for strong clinical skills and deep compassion.
To say that Chris Brown wears many hats would be an understatement. Not only is he a full-time Paramedic in one of the largest EMS systems in the region, but he is also an ordained minister, a Chief Warrant Officer in the American Volunteer Reserves, member of the Memorial Honor Guard at Riverside National Cemetery, and President of AMR Riverside’s CARE team.
A former member of the Seventh Medical Battalion in the US Army, co-workers describe Chris as a carrying and understanding individual willing to go out of his way to help others in need. Whether seeking financial donations for employees that have experienced major medical events, or collecting toys for needy children and dressing up as Santa Claus, Chris never hesitates to come to the rescue.
When Chris met a certain elderly patient who was living in deplorable conditions, failing to take her medications and calling 911 two to three times a day, Chris befriended the women and began taking her to church and on outings with his family. Eventually Chris was able to convince her to move to a board and care home. She is now healthier and happier. Chris’ commitment and actions both on and off-duty are exceptional, and he is truly deserving of the Star of Life award.
Paramedic / Field Training Officer
New Haven, CT
Sal DeLucia began his career in EMS in Vermont then moved back home to Connecticut where he continued his career as an Emergency Medical Technician first for Flanagan Ambulance and then for New Haven Ambulance Service in New Haven, Conn. As a dedicated, hard-working EMT, Sal advanced to the Paramedic level in 1988. His strong commitment to patient care enables him to mentor many of his colleagues and he is widely recognized as one of the most knowledgeable, committed Paramedics in the region. He always demonstrates the AMR core values while anticipating a patient’s needs, safety and comfort.
As a Paramedic and Field Training Officer, Sal has inspired many of his peers while dedicating himself to his profession. He regularly attends local municipal emergency management meetings. He presented a plan to the community of Orange, CT to adopt a “Heart Safe Community.” Sal worked with local businesses, volunteer agencies and business leaders to purchase CPR assist devises for the town. He then conducted CPR training for the town’s employees and EMS providers.
At a recent standby community event, a patron went into cardiac arrest in front of Sal and the EMS team. Sal successfully guided the team in patient care, providing early CPR and ALS protocols resulting in a CPR save and the patient ultimately discharged from the hospital.
John has 25 years of experience in EMS, having served in a variety of field and non-field roles including paramedic, dispatching, education and regulatory services. He currently holds a Master’s degree in Public Safety Leadership and is working on his Ph.D. in Emergency Management.
While working as an Assistant Professor in the EMS program at the College of Southern Maryland, John has continued to work as a paramedic at American Medical Response in Washington, D.C. John’s dedication to providing a positive impact on patient care is evident as he readily assists and mentors other field providers.
System Status Controller / Assistant Communications Supervisor
EMSA, Tulsa, OK
Melissa Hudson’s career with EMSA dates back to June 1992. She started as an EMT-Basic, and was quickly promoted to a preceptor before moving into EMSA’s 911 communications center. Melissa has achieved Emergency Medical Dispatch and EMD-Quality certification. Over the years, she has helped train scores of new dispatchers and has talked thousands of callers through CPR, emergency childbirth, basic trauma management and other life-saving interventions. Recently, Melissa was honored by the Tulsa City Council for her role in rescuing a newborn baby born prematurely at home.
When not saving others, much of Melissa’s time and energy is devoted to her own personal battle with ovarian cancer. Melissa continues to work a full-time schedule while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Paramedic / Field Training Officer
Wichita Falls, TX
AMR Paramedic Nick Long does it all and does it beautifully. Trained as both a field caregiver and as a call-taker/dispatcher, he is quick to fill empty shifts in either duty area or to come in for long distance patient transfers. Nick is an ACLS instructor, a critical incident stress debriefer and is the commander of his operation’s honor guard. As a member of AMR’s national disaster response team, Nick has been deployed for three hurricanes, including two weeks for Superstorm Sandy. In addition, Nick finds time to volunteer as a preceptor in a local college EMS training program and he contributed substantially to training 300 folks in Wichita Falls during AMR’s 2013 World CPR Challenge.
Wait, there’s more! Nick is one of Wichita Falls’ court-appointed child advocates. In that role, he works with other child advocates to safeguard abused and neglected children. He helps attorneys assemble and present their cases for children assigned to him. He recently headed the planning and fundraising committee for the advocate group’s annual 5K benefit race. Nick and his wife are also active with a family-focused children’s theater. He is an actor, director and set builder.
In nominating Nick, his general manager said, “Nick is an excellent role model for those already in EMS and those who wish to join our profession.”
Michael "Mike" Marsh
Paramedic Field Supervisor
San Mateo, CA
Mike has worked in the EMS industry for more than 18 years, and has earned a strong reputation as both a leader and expert in operational disaster response. On July 6, 2013, after notification of a large airliner crash at San Francisco International Airport, Mike set into motion the San Mateo County EMS MCI Plan, and was quickly assigned to EMS Branch Officer by the Incident Commander. There is no question that Mike’s actions and leadership on this day saved lives.
One of AMR’s most valuable disaster resources, Mike co-commands the San Mateo County’s Regional Tactical Medical Resources, serves as Chairman of the San Mateo County Mass Casualty Incident Committee and is the Northern California Disaster Response Coordinator for AMR’s National Disaster Response Team. Mike has also provided subject matter services to the Department of Homeland Security on disaster-related issues.
In addition to the Asiana crash, Mike also played a pivotal role in the management of AMR’s response to the San Bruno gas explosion; and has personally responded to Hurricanes Gustave and Ike. In his day-to-day role as Field Supervisor, Mike helps to manage AMR’s 911 operations in San Mateo County, which experiences more than 42,000 calls a year. AMR’s success in San Mateo County is tied directly to Mike’s constant focus on rapid response and efficient delivery of services.
Mike Marsh is a valued member of AMR’s team and dedicated professional, and we are proud to honor him with the Star of Life Award.
With more than 10 years in emergency medical services, Dale has evolved into one of Clackamas County’s most valued and dedicated paramedics. His drive to keep his clinical skills at peak performance and his deep knowledge as a paramedic were especially apparent during an off-duty cardiac arrest save at a local soccer field.
After finishing the first half of an adult league soccer game, Dale heard yelling from the opposite side of the field and quickly realized that someone needed medical help. Dale found the patient with agonal respirations and no pulse. With the help of a physician on scene, Dale coordinated efforts to maintain quality CPR and ventilation while a bystander ran to a nearby school for an AED.
Dale attached the AED and administered a single shock which returned spontaneous circulation and lead to the patient regaining consciousness. The patient was transported to the hospital and later discharged. The cooperation from both medical and non-medical bystanders during this event has lead Dale to spearhead various initiatives in the Clackamas County area to encourage early intervention, including the training of local soccer coaches and players in CPR and AED use.
Dale has been the recipient of both the Clackamas Fire District Board of Directors’ Community Life Saving Award and the State of Oregon’s EMS Life Saving Medal. His off-duty efforts to train others to save lives and his unwavering commitment to the community he serves make Dale a genuine Star of Life.
Emergency Medical Technician
For the past seven years, Eva Parfait has led AMR’s “Safe Ride Home” project in the Jackson area. The project keeps hundreds of drunk drivers off the road every New Year’s Eve by offering free rides home for party-goers. Eva recruits co-workers to drive passenger vans rented for the project, pulls other resources together, contributes to media publicity and coordinates the vans’ travels through the night.
Eva has also participated in several dramatic rescues in recent years. Last November, she responded to a scene with passengers in a vehicle that was upside-down in frigid rushing water. The current knocked a police officer off his feet, putting his life in jeopardy. Eva and others went into the water to pull the officer to safety. The Mayor of Jackson and the City Council publicly recognized Eva and the other rescuers.
Eva has worked in the ambulance field for 24 years. The Mississippi EMT Association named Eva the statewide EMT of the Year for 2013 – 2014. One of Eva’s sons followed her example and became a paramedic and EMS training officer for a city fire department. Eva is a newlywed, having tied the knot just this past January.
Las Vegas, NV
One day, while off duty, Anthony was driving on the freeway when he noticed traffic backed up. He looked around and noticed that a pickup truck was up on the 60 degree embankment. When Anthony reached the pickup he found a man on the floor boards. The man was had no pulse and was apneic. Anthony and bystanders were able to pull the man out and away from the pickup and begin CPR. When the fire department and responding AMR ambulance showed up, Anthony continued to assist with CPR and resuscitation of the man. Thanks to Anthony’s actions, the man is alive and recovering.
Anthony’s determination to become a paramedic is evident in the personal trials he dealt with during paramedic school and internship. Anthony’s mother was diagnosed with a rare cancer and his father was diagnosed with Stage III COPD. He was able to juggle paramedic school, work and taking care of both his parents. Unfortunately, while Anthony was going through his internship to be a paramedic at AMR-Las Vegas, his father passed away. Anthony persevered through all his tragedies and accomplished his dream of being a paramedic.
Leslie Reindollar is a paramedic with AMR in Pueblo, Colo. One of the calls she ran last year epitomizes her compassion for the care of others: A young child was seriously burned. The family was not immediately available to accompany the child and provide comfort. While Leslie treated the patient clinically, she also showed great compassion for the injured and scared child. As she continued medical care, she was also able to lie alongside the patient and provide the much-needed human touch for the child. Leslie radiates warmth, humility and kindness as she serves others and always expresses appreciation to others for their efforts.
Leslie is the Clinical and Education Services Specialist for two operations, and she also serves her community as a paramedic and licensed practical nurse. She is a certified instructor for ACLS, PALS, ITLS and CPR. Leslie is also a member of AMR’s Disaster Response Team and has deployed several times, the most recent to help in Boulder County after the floods in September 2013.
System Status Controller / Assistant Communications Supervisor
EMSA, Oklahoma City, OK
When tornadoes tore through central Oklahoma in May 2013, Melody Spruill shepherded field crews and communications personnel through the crisis. Radio and cell phone networks were overloaded, making communications incredibly difficult. During this time of intense chaos, Melody figured out a way to coordinate with external agencies and internal resources to secure and position additional response assets.
Melody has a passion and intensity that sometimes catches people off-guard. Once she has taken ownership of a project, she assumes an accountability for it that is admirable and influences her peers. Melody is an EMT-Basic and has earned Emergency Medical Dispatch certification. She joined the EMSA team in November 1985.
Critical Care Paramedic
St. Louis, MO
William is a true Star of Life. Described as a very caring individual who is dedicated to EMS and AMR, William is a CCEMT-P, Lead SCT Medic for Abbott. William is often recognized for his efforts to ensure the highest standards of care. He is a committed medial professional with a strong academic background and clinical training. In addition, he mentors his colleagues assuring consistent skills and quality patient care.
His patient care reports are meticulously detailed, ensuring that our SCT patients receive the highest quality care possible. William constantly takes the SCT ambulance into the community for in-service demonstrations and hosts Scout troops on site to familiarize them on how we operate and introduce them to career opportunities. He has served as a local Cub Scout den leader for the past five years, Girl Scout advisor for the past nine years, and provides emergency foster care for disadvantaged children.
One of William’s crowning achievements was to help a chronically ill veteran, near the end of his life, check a big item off his “bucket list.” William took him to a St. Louis Rams football game. While on the sidelines, the veteran was greeted by officials, players and fans, all of whom thanked him for his service to our country.
William is a reliable source of information to his peers and sometimes referred to as “Phone a Friend” from his coworkers who seek his advice and answers regarding patient care challenges.
Registered Respiratory Therapist / Paramedic
Anthony has worked for Air Ambulance Specialists (AASI) for the past eight years as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and Paramedic. His role as a Flight RRT/EMTP has expanded into training and medical coordination. Anthony’s knowledge and training style is invaluable to both AASI and AMR Air Hawaii. He is always there to answer difficult questions.
Anthony became a Paramedic in 1984 and a RRT in 1986. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine and an Associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy. His RRT/EMTP experience includes working at many top-level hospitals including Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif; Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, La; and Dartmouth Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. He joined AASI with 18 years of flight experience in both the rotor and fixed-wing environments. Anthony has also been a member of several specialty transport teams.
Anthony is an outdoor sportsman including an accomplished skier, runner, and climber and he enjoys several other sports.
Susan "Sue" Zeigler
Emergency Medical Technician
What sets Sue Zeigler apart from other EMS professionals is that she is more than just an exceptional EMT - she is an individual that is 100 percent committed to the health and welfare of the community she serves. A full-time business owner and part-time EMT, Sue still takes responsibility to monitor radio traffic while off-duty. She has even driven her own vehicle to get to the location of a call to assist fellow crewmembers with a cardiac patient. Sue has also taken it upon herself while off-duty to find a partner so an ambulance can be called into service when Pierre’s two-ambulance system is overloaded.
A volunteer for AMR at many community events, Sue is always looking for opportunities to educate the public and advocate the importance of CPR training. Sue cancels client appointments at her salon to help fill uncovered shifts. In addition, Sue donates her cosmetic skills to hospice and cancer patients, and is in charge of AMR’s Sentimental Journey program. Sue Ziegler’s commitment to her patients, her co-workers and the community is the reason why she is being honored as a Star of Life.