Smithfield, NC – The Johnston County EMS System celebrated National EMS Week, May 17th-23rd, by hosting the organizations annual banquet. The banquet honors all components and providers within the EMS System, which include 911 communications, fire department first responders, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
Emergency workers were welcomed by EMS Chief Josh Holloman. The theme of the 2015 National EMS Week is “EMS Strong”. Chief Holloman proclaimed, “If our system is anything, we are strong.” Chief Holloman thanked each provider for their dedication and work to make the system successful and also thanked the County Manager, Rick Hester and Commissioner Chad Stewart, who were in attendance, for their unwavering support.
The speaker at this year’s celebration, Dr. James Jollis, Chairman of the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline, declared Johnston County as “the best place to have a heart attack.” Dr. Jollis referenced data showing that the Johnston County EMS System ranks above the national average for resuscitating cardiac arrest patients and leads the state with a program to care for victims of a heart attack. Dr. Jollis congratulated the system on recently receiving a national award from the American Heart Association for exceeding standards in the care of heart attack patients.
The Johnston County EMS System Honor Guard started the evening by posting the colors and each member of the honor guard were later honored with a special commendation for being a part of the team. Captain Patrick Cogdell, who is the coordinator of the Honor Guard also received a special administrative commendation for his work with the group.
Several individuals were honored with commendations for cardiac arrest saves and for assisting with childbirths in 2014. Honoring the history of the system, families of Peg Woodall, Danny Altman and Norman Johnson were also presented a special plaque, thanking them for the service of their loved one, who died this past year.
The Johnston County EMS Association presented $500 scholarships to two individuals who are pursuing degrees that will enhance their work within the EMS System. The first recipient, Kaitlyn Redding is a cadet with 50-210 EMS. Also receiving a scholarship was Sasha Long, an EMT-Intermediate with Johnston County EMS.
Smithfield Fire Chief Patrick Harris, who is retiring in June was honored with a plaque thanking him for his leadership and service within the EMS System. Johnston County EMS Assistant Chief Ben Lawson, who is also leaving the system in June was also honored for his work and dedication.
The EMS System also presented five peer nominated awards, which are given annually. The Telecommunicator of the year award was presented to Seth Heilig from Johnston County 911. The Community Service Award was presented to Ellis Daniels, Paramedic and Firefighter with Johnston County EMS and Wilson’s Mills Fire Department. The Dedicated Service Award was presented to Jerry Lynch, EMT-Intermediate with Johnston County EMS and Four Oaks EMS. The Pioneer award was awarded to Danny Altman and presented to his family. The Excellence Award, the most prestigious award in the system, was presented to Director Kim Robertson for her work with the EMS system and as an advocate for those in need.
Dr. Ed Hartman, the system medical director provided the closing remarks. Dr. Hartman stated how proud he was of the progress within the system and also how excited he is to begin the new community paramedic program in June, which will further enhance our ability to help the citizens of Johnston County.
Johnston County EMS also thanked everyone who works or volunteers in the system.