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Ken Knipper Awarded 2011 Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award

Aug 31, 2011

On August 30, at its General Membership Meeting in Las Vegas, NAEMT awarded its 2011 Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award to Ken Knipper of Melbourne, Kentucky.

Knipper was nominated for this award due to his tireless and dedicated service to EMS in the many capacities he has served. “Ken is most deserving of this honor,” says Charles M. O'Neal, B.A., NREMT-P, Assistant Division Director, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. O'Neal notes that he has had the privilege of serving with Knipper on various state level EMS committees and councils and has seen firsthand the “sincere desire he has to see the citizens of the Commonwealth receive first rate prehospital medical care, and his determination to see EMS in Kentucky recognized as a legitimate part of the public safety community.”

Knipper is retired from his job as Campbell County Emergency Manager. He has served as a volunteer EMT and Chief of the Silver Grove Fire Department in Northern Kentucky. “Ken has consistently and fairly represented the citizens of Kentucky and the EMS community,” says O'Neal.

Knipper previously served as the Director of the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services, was inducted into the Kentucky Firefighters Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and has received a Special Recognition Award from the EMS Branch of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services.

“Ken was always there to help support my agency and causes that would improve EMS for the citizens and the EMS community as a whole. Be it fire-based, hospital-based or a private EMS organization, Ken was always ready to offer advice and provide support through the many channels he had developed over his many years of traveling across the Commonwealth and to our nation's capitol,” notes O'Neal. 

Knipper currently is serving his second term on the National EMS Advisory Council, where he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to represent volunteer EMS practitioners. He served as a member of the National Core Content Committee during the development of the EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach. He also was a panelist on the Institute of Medicine's Preparedness and Response to Rural Mass Casualty Incident workshop, which was funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in response to a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation to the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS. He currently serves as a member of the Culture of Safety Project Steering Committee, a project funded by a NHTSA grant awarded to the American College of Emergency Physicians. Additionally, Knipper serves on the National EMS Advisory Council and serves as a liaison to the NREMT Board of Directors.

“For many years, Ken's presence has been ubiquitous in the emergency medical services projects supported by NHTSA,” says Drew Dawson, Director, Office of Emergency Medical Services, U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA. “Ken has capably and professionally represented the voice of volunteer EMS providers throughout the nation – regardless of their affiliation. Ken is indefatigable in his enthusiastic support of EMS system improvement throughout the United States.”

According to the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), Knipper’s tenure as a volunteer emergency responder began over 30 years ago. Recognizing the need for volunteer EMTs in his Northern Kentucky community, Knipper helped initiate the emergency medical services division of his local department. Since then, he has become a prominent and active leader and voice for the emergency medical services at the local, state, and national levels, and represents the NVFC in a variety of EMS initiatives.

He represented the NVFC at various development meetings for the National EMS Workforce Assessment and for the EMS Workforce Agenda for the Future. He was a member of the steering committee for the Feasibility for an EMS Workforce Safety and Health Surveillance system study. Knipper's representation of NVFC in several meetings led to the development of 2007's “EMS Pandemic Influenza Guidelines for Statewide Adoption (2007) and “Preparing for Pandemic Influenza: Recommendations for Protocol Development for 9-1-1 Personnel and Public Safety Answering Points.”

“Ken's dedication and commitment to the fire service of Kentucky and to the National Volunteer Fire Council over the years has been exemplary,” says Ronnie Day, Executive Director, Kentucky Fire Commission. “Ken takes on all he does with determination, and his devotion and enthusiasm is second to none.” 

“Discussions with key stakeholders in Kentucky relay to me that Ken is a living legend of leadership in EMS in Kentucky,” says Bill Brown, Executive Director, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), who presented Knipper with the award.

The Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award is NAEMT's most prestigious award, and is named after one of the founding members of NAEMT. It is sponsored by NREMT.