Stars of life

Stars of Life - 2013

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.

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Congratulations to all of the award recipients!

Kyle Cacayorin
Emergency Medical Technician
Stockton, Calif.

EMT Kyle Cacayorin and his paramedic partner Josh Moore provided life saving care to a Stockton Police officer shot in the abdomen in the line of duty on March 21, 2012. Kyle and Josh went into a dangerous hot zone under cover of the Stockton S.W.A.T. team to evacuate the wounded officer while simultaneously attending to his injury. Kyle and Josh’s willingness to go into a hostile scene to save the life of the wounded officer was an act above and beyond the call of duty, and exemplifies what it means to be a Star of Life.

Ennis Jackson
San Diego, Calif.

For more than 21 years, Ennis Jackson has served as one of the most experienced paramedics at AMR San Diego. Ennis' commitment to excellence shines through his work, and his colleagues would all agree that his patient-centered approach is inspiring to everyone around him. As a devoted advocate for the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse among young people, Ennis goes above and beyond making a difference by volunteering his time and presenting free lectures to students throughout San Diego, giving them advice on how to avoid destructive decisions such as drugs, alcohol, and impaired or distracted driving.

Since the early 1990s, Ennis has served as an FTO and a trainer for San Diego's paramedic students. Known for his patience and drive to encourage others to succeed, Ennis visited 10 schools in Southern California last year, bringing his message to more than 6,000 students. He has addressed an estimated 400,000 students in 20 years, and he has received numerous commendations for his services in duty. His lifelong dedication to his career, his students, and the community he serves are indicative of a true Star of Life.

Ron Jacobs
System Status Controller II
Jackson, Miss.

Now in his 31st` year with AMR, Ron Jacobs began his career as a Mississippi emergency telecommunicator in 1969. Ron is known for being calm and composed, and for his exceptional technical skills as a public safety dispatcher. More than 25 years ago he completed his state's first course to certify emergency medical dispatchers. As an EMD, Ron has saved many lives and mitigated much distress (both physical and emotional), and he's even helped deliver a few babies over the phone. At his operation, it has become commonplace for social workers, case managers, and other callers to specifically ask to speak with Ron.

In 2012, the Mississippi EMT Association named Ron the statewide EMS Dispatcher of the Year. Ron simultaneously held two full-time public safety jobs for decades. He is known for treating his call center like a customer service desk, believing that everyone who calls is in some kind of pain, and it's his job to alleviate it. Outside of work, Ron is committed to his seven grandchildren.

Michael Johnson
Registered Nurse
Philadelphia, Pa.

Michael Johnson's EMS career has spanned more than 20 years as a firefighter, ambulance driver, EMT, paramedic, and registered nurse. Michael has also provided critical care ground transport to those in need. In addition to working in EMS, Michael has worked as a staff nurse and clinical manager for one of the busiest level-one trauma centers in the city of Philadelphia. Michael's EMS expertise is evident not only in applying what he has learned but also in his continual search to broaden his knowledge. He has recently committed to training programs in tactical medicine, technical rescue medical support, and mass gathering medicine. Michael is supported at home by a loving and understanding wife and two children.

Barry Morally
Lead Paramedic, Reach & Treat Administrator
Milwaukie, Ore.

A 17-year EMS veteran, Barry Morally is both a paramedic and administrator of AMR's Northwest Reach and Treat Team. An experienced outdoorsman and mountain climber (he has climbed the summit of Mount Hood 22 times), Barry now combines his two passions: mountaineering and EMS.

In 2012 Barry responded to a patient who fell approximately 300 feet while climbing Mount Hood. Barry led the effort to reach the patient and perform not only his paramedical skills but also used his expertise to extricate the patient from the mountain. He took great care to immobilize the patient during the all-day descent down the mountain. Barry realized the patient's back was severely broken. Due to Barry's quality of care while descending the mountain, there were no permanent effects and the patient was ultimately released from the hospital. As the leader in extreme wilderness rescue situations, Barry not only has the patients' concerns on his mind but also the safety of his entire rescue team. His bravery and unwavering commitment to his profession are why Barry is a Star of Life.

John Osborn
Las Vegas, Nev.

John Osborn has been nominated for his commitment to making a difference in his community and in his patients' lives. John is a mentor to his co-workers and other medical professionals throughout Las Vegas, having trained paramedics for the past 15 years. In 2012, John was recognized by the Las Vegas Review-Journal for his dedication to the community, and he recently received the MedicWest Heart Saver award for excellent quality cardiac care. John first served our country in the United States Marine Corps, and began his EMS career as a volunteer in Colorado. He has since served communities in southern Nevada for more than 20 years, first with Mercy Medical Service, AMR, and now MedicWest Ambulance. He enjoys spending time with his family and playing softball, photography, and camping.

Nicholas Pieper
Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colo.

Nick Pieper's fire shift colleagues nominated him for the Stars of Life for his critical thinking and judgment skills, his compassion, and his knowledge of both urban and rural settings. Nick independently created and implemented a medical training program for his colleagues in the fire department, whereby they collaborate with AMR to save lives. Nick trains his colleagues every shift on the most current medical interventions.

Nick recently worked closely with the Teller County Sheriff's Office to implement an internal tactical medical protocol. Nick took responsibility to become a Teller County Sheriff deputy, attending the full academy and continuing onto the tactical medical training so that he could fulfill the tactical medical duties internally. Nick enjoys rock climbing with his four-year-old daughter, running the trails of the Section 16 foothills, watching documentaries, and playing with his two dogs. He and his wife plan to fix up their 125-year-old house, put in a greenhouse, and raise chickens in the backyard.

Jeremy Rodorigo
Emergency Medical Technician
Waterbury, Conn.

Jeremy Rodorigo began his career in EMS at age 16, achieving EMT certification in 1985. He is a state of Connecticut EMS instructor, having taught hundreds of providers throughout the state. As an account executive and public information officer at AMR, Jeremy ensures that AMR is the ambulance provider of choice for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and 9-1-1 municipalities.

In addition to ensuring AMR's business success and stellar reputation in Connecticut, Jeremy is also an active caregiver and industry expert. Jeremy recently responded to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., coordinating EMS units on scene and in Newtown during the crisis. Jeremy was recognized by Newtown EMS for providing early intervention for responders in need of immediate crisis counseling. During the days that followed the tragedy, he was often called on by local responders for advice and counsel.

Jeremy lives in Beacon Falls with his wife and two children. He also gives back as a volunteer in his hometown, where he is a volunteer firefighter, Chairman of Beacon Falls Economic Development Commission, and Assistant Emergency Management Director of Beacon Falls.

Christopher Rose
Paramedic, Safety Officer
Kahului, Hawaii

Over the past 15 years, Chris Rose has evolved into one of the island's most committed and skilled paramedics. As a staunch supporter of augmenting Maui County's Medevac and safety training programs, Chris has always expressed a positive attitude toward problem resolution, patient care, and community service. Chris not only serves as Maui County's Paramedic Association Union President, but also as AMR's Maui County safety officer, and he sits on the Hawaii Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee.

Chris is an active volunteer in the community and is involved in Maui's Fall Prevention Coalition, which provides fall and potential fall victims home health care services. Chris teaches life support continuing education courses at the University of Hawaii at Maui. His dedication to his career, his patients, and community are what set him apart from the rest, and are why he was nominated as a Star of Life.

Brittany Schumacher
Iowa Falls, Iowa

After an arm injury ended her career in law enforcement, Brittany Schumacher attended the Life Support Training Institute in Southfield, Mich., and obtained her EMT license. She moved to St. Louis and began her EMT career with Abbott EMS, obtaining her paramedic license shortly thereafter. Brittany also joined the American Red Cross and specialized in disaster response. As a disaster team leader, Brittany is responsible for a team who responded to disasters ranging from house fires to windstorms and blizzards. As a member of the Red Cross, Brittany was awarded Volunteer of the Year and had an opportunity to participate in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

On the Disaster Response Team, Brittany was deployed to the Texas coast for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. She attended the University of Phoenix and obtained a bachelor's degree in business management. She was elected president of the Hardin County EMS Council, which serves to improve the quality of EMS and encourage interagency cooperation. As one of the most experienced EMS experts in her community, Brittany teaches professional and public courses in first aid, CPR, first response, and various disaster mitigation and response courses. Teaching encourages Brittany to stay current on various medical topics and watch for new techniques and strategies. Brittany enjoys kayaking, camping, golfing, and spending time with friends. She recently joined the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks.

Jolene Sheehan
Emergency Medical Technician, Intermediate
Brockton, Mass.

Jolene Sheehan's EMS career began with AMR in October 2000 as a per-diem EMT-Basic. In 2003, she earned her EMT-Intermediate certification and became a full-time employee at AMR in Brockton, Mass. She returned to the classroom in 2008 to earn her Instructor/ Coordinator certificate with OEMS, and again in 2010 to become an OEMS state examiner. Jolene's academic career in EMS has allowed her to spread her knowledge to students of all types.

In addition to working on an ambulance, Jolene has taught EMT courses, refresher courses, CPR, and first aid to health care providers and lay rescuers. She has had the opportunity to meet and train people from various backgrounds, including school teachers, business professionals, Boy Scout leaders, church groups, shelters for battered children, youth football coaches, and municipal employees. Whether her classroom has 30 students or only a few, Jolene approaches every classroom experience with unparalleled integrity and professionalism. In January of this year, Jolene taught her 25th EMT course and well over 150 CPR and first aid classes.

Tara Simione
Paramedic, Field Training Officer, Alternate Supervisor
Lake Worth, Fla.

Now in her 10th year with AMR, Tara Simione is an exceptional clinician and a remarkable leader. She is heralded by her peers for her sharp mind, kindness, endearing smile, and strong work ethic. Tara has served on three Disaster Response Team deployments, for Hurricanes Gustav, Irene, and Sandy. For nearly a month last fall, Tara and her co-workers from southeast Florida worked in some of the areas Sandy hit hardest. Her group ran 9-1-1 calls on Long Island and evacuated several medical facilities that lost power, including large hospitals and a special needs center. When Tara returned home, she shared observations on how to improve future deployments.

As a Field Training Officer, Tara shapes the skills and attitudes of new team members. She has received numerous commendations and employee awards. Even when offduty, she helps the less fortunate by leading food drives for homeless people or volunteering at a local animal shelter.

Marcia Zuidema
Respiratory Therapist
Englewood, Colo.

Marcia Zuidema has performed many roles in her 35-year health care career. Whether working as a bedside respiratory practitioner, paramedical instructor, health care educator, or involved in domestic and international fixed-wing transport, Marcia is a proven clinical expert and actively provides education to nurses. Marcia's primary responsibility at AMR Air Ambulance is as a Flight Respiratory Therapist and lead member of the equipment program. She ensures that the correct and most advanced equipment is available for our fixed-wing air ambulance fleet. Marcia also responds to critical care calls and is an active member of our FEMA response team, ready to provide and supervise aircraft in the event of deployment.

Marcia conducts annual training to medical staff. In previous positions she has been responsible for billing and staff retention — knowledge she has used at AMR to improve the organization as a whole. She is a member of the National Board for Respiratory Care. Marcia lives in Monument, Colo., and participates in neighborhood watch programs in her area. She also participated in recovery efforts when wildfires affected her area in 2012.