Indiana Emergency Response Conference Announces 2018 Award Winners

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Fire Instructor of the Year (Individual): Ross Elmore, Petersburg Fire Department This award recognizes an individual who has made Indiana’s fire service training safer, more effective and more professional. From the nomination form: Ross Elmore became a firefighter in 1987, and was certified as an Instructor Second Class just seven years later. Over his years of service, he has instructed, coached and mentored countless Southern Indiana firefighters. Elmore not only instructed his department, but he travels to other counties and works with other departments that need evaluators, proctors or other types of support. He has served on the Fire Training District Board since 2006, maintaining a high standard for firefighters in Southern Indiana.

 

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Dispatcher of the Year: Shift Days A, Hamilton County Public Safety Communications The Dispatcher of the Year award recognizes either years of service or outstanding performance relating to a specific emergency event. From the nomination form: Days A displayed tremendous teamwork during the active assailant event that occurred at Noblesville West Middle School on May 25, 2018. While they routinely pull together during regular activity, they showed strength, teamwork and emotional resilience while answering the 203 calls during the first hour and a total of 761 calls received between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. that day.

 

Heroic Rescue of the Year: Mark Regina, Mishawaka Fire Department This award is presented to personnel who were actively involved in a rescue operation involving a victim in a dangerous environment. To be considered, the candidate(s) must have demonstrated a degree of courage and bravery while showing an understanding of the seriousness of the situation. From the nomination form: While off-shift on April 11, Mark Regina smelled smoke from his car and identified a nearby building currently on fire. Regina powered through the smoke and fire surrounding the stairs to the upper apartment’s door and helped open a small window to allow a female occupant to escape. To his surprise, the woman went back in and handed her three small children through the window to Regina before escaping herself. Due to Regina’s knowledge, skills and abilities, what could have been a tragedy was averted and a family is alive today.

EMS Advanced Life Support Provider of the Year (Fire Department-based): Fishers Fire Department The Provider of the Year should possess unique qualities that serve to elevate the standard of professionalism and the quality of patient care throughout the EMS industry. From the nomination form: The Fishers Fire Department has seen an increase in opioid use and has taken a new and different approach to the opioid crisis in Indiana. Fishers EMS has worked with St. Vincent Hospital to develop an innovative protocol to use nitrous oxide to provide patients with pain relief for injuries, burns, kidney stones and other musculoskeletal pain. In addition to decreasing the quantity of opioids given by Fisher’s paramedics, the department also started a community paramedicine program with a specific emphasis on mental health outreach and services.

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EMS Advanced Life Support Provider of the Year (Non-Fire Department-based): AMR Evansville The Provider of the Year should possess unique qualities that serve to elevate the standard of professionalism and the quality of patient care throughout the EMS industry. From the nomination form: AMR Evansville is dedicated to patient care, receiving honors from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch and the American Heart Association yearly. AMR Evansville participates in numerous data collection projects and is active in the Mayor’s Crisis Stabilization Task Force, focusing on Opioid issues. The agency works diligently to provide continuing education to staff, as well as developing phone apps and other technology to help with tracking and information gathering. This culminates in an effort to improve patient outcomes and pathways to care.

 

Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year: Craig Zollars, White River Township Fire Department (Greenwood) This award represents the best the industry has to offer, not only in proficiency, but also in professionalism. From the nomination form: Craig Zollars works year round to provide multiple types of education for his community. He leads the community CPR program, helps departments hold bike safety events and serves a car seat instructor, training many members in the county to be car seat technicians. He works tirelessly to fund the Christmas Angels program in partnership with United Way, and over the last several years has provided a Christmas for over 200 children. Zollars does his best to show his department’s dedication to its community and brings a positive attitude.

David J. Edwards Memorial Award, Primary (EMS) Instructor of the Year: Kelly Russ, Indianapolis EMS The candidates for this award must be certified by the EMS Commission as a primary instructor and be actively involved in public education and public service going beyond normal day-to-day responsibilities. Kelly Russ was nominated by not one, but six individuals. Some of the words used to describe Russ included: incredible, passionate, holistic, enthusiastic and “a gem in this industry.” She is described as always available for questions or assistance, going above and beyond to educate her students. Not only does she demonstrate a willingness to teach, but she also shows a desire to continue her education. She has built an accelerated medic program, the first of its kind in the area, from the ground up and her influence on not only her students, but her peers, and contributes to the overall success of the program.

EMS for Children Award: Chris Thomas, Trans-Care Ambulance Service (Terre Haute) The award recipients for the EMS for Children Award represent the best the industry has to offer in the field of EMS care for children, not only in proficiency, but also in professionalism. From the nomination form: On October 30, 2017, Chris Thomas responded to a call involving an 11 year old male who had gone into cardiac arrest following a severe asthma attack. Following ten minutes of resuscitation, Thomas and his team were able to get a heartbeat and requested a helicopter to transport the child to IU Riley’s Children’s hospital. Unfortunately, the child was deprived of oxygen too long and died one week later. The care that Thomas showed for his patient extended after the call ended, as Thomas received daily updates on the child’s status and even visited the cemetery following his patient’s death. His passion for pediatric medicine has been evident since he became a primary instructor in 2006, emphasizing the information to students so they will be prepared when their day comes to respond to a gravely ill or injured child.

EMT-Basic of the Year: Samantha Slinger, Harrison County Hospital EMS The award recipients for the EMT-Basic of the Year award represent the best the industry has to offer, not only in proficiency, but also in professionalism. From the nomination form: In 2014, Samantha Slinger suffered a brain aneurysm with multiple strokes. Her survival convinced her to become an EMT. Slinger’s desire to help, learn and progress shows great determination and sets the bar high for all in emergency medicine.

Paramedic of the Year: Darren Forman, Crawfordsville Fire Department The award recipients for the Paramedic of the Year award represent the best the industry has to offer, not only in proficiency, but also in professionalism. From the nomination form: Darren Forman has been nominated for his relentless effort, selflessness and unmatched passion for Project Swaddle, a community paramedicine program that he leads. Forman’s program provides one-on-one in-home care throughout the duration of the pregnancy and the months following delivery. The program focuses on clinical care, education, health tracking and emotional support. Since its inception, Project Swaddle has reduced hospital readmission emergency department visits by 90 percent.

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EMS Basic Life Support Provider of the Year (Fire Department-based): Evansville Fire Department The Provider of the Year should possess unique qualities that serve to elevate the standard of professionalism and the quality of patient care throughout the EMS industry. From the nomination form: Not only does Evansville Fire Department say they are dedicated to their community, they show it. In addition to providing one of the best fire-based EMT classes for their employees, they offer seats to other nearby agencies at no charge. Early this spring, they began administering naloxone for opium and opiate overdoses, and to date have given over 200 doses to assist those patients. Evansville Fire Department teaches CPR classes to local non-profits, and hold an annual children’s Christmas party for underprivileged children selected by their school administrators. The focus on the community has made this department head and shoulders above the rest.

 

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EMS Basic Life Support Provider of the Year (Non-Fire Department-based): Knox County EMS The Provider of the Year should possess unique qualities that serve to elevate the standard of professionalism and the quality of patient care throughout the EMS industry. From the nomination form: The employees at Knox County EMS do an impressive job, showing compassion and superior care of their patients.

 

Ambulance Provider Public Relations Award: inHealth (Valparaiso) From the nomination form: inHealth is a shining example of an EMS Provider with a true dedication to the communities they serve through their participation and leadership in various community events. Recently, inHealth held a community training focused on the lessons learned during three school shootings, with the goal to bring a cross section of the community together to focus on prevention and safety. This agency has been a leader in keeping the tough conversations going.

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EMS Officer of the Year: Gary Kleeman, Harrison County Hospital EMS This award represents the best the industry has to offer, not only in proficiency, but also in professionalism. From the nomination form: Gary Kleeman retired this year after 43 years in EMS and 24 years of service as the Manager of Harrison County Hospital EMS. Under Kleeman’s direction, the standard of training, equipment and protocols have all evolved, and are some of the most progressive in the state. In addition to his EMS duties, Kleeman also acted as the emergency preparedness coordinator and handled all hazardous materials disposal. As a previous winner of Paramedic of the Year (2001) and Primary Instructor of the year (2010), it would be fitting in the year of his retirement to have his contribution to emergency medicine recognized.

 

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Medical Director of the Year: Scott Sinnott, Project Swaddle Medical Director, Franciscan Alliance (Lafayette) The nominees for the Medical Director of the Year award should not only demonstrate proficiency in oversight but also an attitude of professionalism among all members of the EMS and hospital communities, as well as the public. From the nomination form: As the medical director for Project Swaddle, Dr. Scott Sinnott has trusted the project’s potential to reduce physician shortages and healthcare costs, while improving the quality of patient care. As a bold advocate for community paramedicine, he has garnered support from colleagues who have contributed greatly to the program’s early successes. While juggling the demands of being a full-time O.B., Dr. Sinnott has unwaveringly committed himself to Project Swaddle at the expense of his own time.

 

Firefighter of the Year: Thomas Marvel, Carmel Fire Department This award represents the best the industry has to offer, not only in proficiency, but also in professionalism. From the nomination form: Tom Marvel has distinguished himself as a member of the Carmel Fire Department, outstripping education requirements for the last five years and earning an Education Merit Award. He works to share this knowledge not only with his full-time colleagues, but with those he works with as a volunteer with Lapel and Stoney Creek Township. He works to further the field by assisting IDHS District 6 as an instructor. Marvel is the definition of service, honor and integrity.

Fire Officer of the Year: Tim Tully, Crown Point Fire Rescue This award represents the best the industry has to offer, not only in proficiency, but also in professionalism. From the nomination form: Captain Tim Tully is single-handedly responsible for starting a technical rescue team and developing that team’s skills over the past 13 years. When learning of a planned hotel demolition in the last year, he utilized that opportunity for training, inviting technical rescue teams from across Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, and including the Indiana National Guard and the Israeli army as participants in the exercise. He is the definition of dedication.

Fire Chief of the Year (Volunteer): Randy Sizelove, Summitville Fire Department Nominees for this award must be actively involved in fire organizations, fire prevention education, training and safety improvement. From the nomination form: Chief Randy Sizelove was elected in 1995, and has guided the Summitville Fire Department for the last 23 years. Sizelove has worked diligently to uplift local youth, scheduling events during the year as well as beginning a cadet program to give young adults an outlet. His two children participated in the cadet program, and his daughter tragically gave her life in the line of duty at the age of 17. Sizelove has since established a scholarship in her name that assists children graduating from the local high school. His focus on assistance has also led him to disaster response, and he has served with FEMA on a number of disasters. He has given so much to our small town community.

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Fire Chief of the Year (Career): Mike Connelly, Evansville Fire Department Nominees for this award must be actively involved in fire organizations, fire prevention education, training and safety improvement. From the nomination form: Chief Mike Connelly has served as Evansville’s Fire Chief for six years. During this time he has strongly advocated for the firefighters as well as the department, championing improvements across the board. Connelly is a progressive leader that digs into and studies issues that impact our firefighters’ safety and health. He has worked extensively to build relationships with local officials and citizens, as well as inspire his firefighters to continue to improve. It’s this kind of drive and passion that clearly demonstrates why he is an excellent leader.