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Congratulations to 2012 Award Winners

Oct 31, 2012

NAEMT congratulates its 2012 award winners:

2012 Paramedic of the Year – Kenneth Davenport, Paramedic, Marion, Ky.
Sponsored by Nasco





2012 EMT of the Year – Dean Darling, EMT-I, Sauk City, Wis.
Sponsored by Braun Industries





These awards were presented at NAEMT's General Membership Meeting and Awards Presentation on the evening of Tuesday, October 30, in New Orleans, and at the opening ceremony of EMS World Expo.

Here is more about our winners:

Kenneth Davenport
Davenport is a paramedic with Lyon County (Ky.) EMS, and has worked in EMS since 1988. He was nominated by Adam Lyons, his director, who says that Davenport helped him adjust to the area as a new director to the service. He says that Davenport works for multiple agencies not for the money, but because he loves the job and wants to help as many patients as possible. Lyons said that Davenport is always willing to step in and help coworkers, and “his patient care is superb. He is intrigued by the patient's condition and what is causing their current symptoms or illness. He gets down to the root of the problem and treats patients and their family members with dignity and respect.”

Brent White, the son of a patient Davenport treated, relays how his disabled father had fallen at home. While the family believed this fall to be no worse than others he had taken, and the patient assured paramedics he was all right, Davenport asked him a few key questions before leaving the home and discovered the patient was experiencing pain behind his ear. “Without hesitation,” White says, “Mr. Davenport instinctively changed course and said it was imperative to get my father to the hospital as quickly as possible. Over the next several hours my family would learn that my father had a subdural hematoma and other significant damage to his brain that required immediate surgery.” The surgeon said Davenport's quick diagnosis and action saved White's father's life.

G. Allen Jones, EMT-P, his director at Trigg Co. Hospital EMS, says that “Every patient Kenneth encounters is treated with the utmost respect and care. Kenneth shows compassion and empathy for his patients and their families. He has touched so many lives.”

In addition, Davenport “is a leading force for continuing education for our organization,” says Lyons. “He is always trying to help keep himself and other members current on state and national standards.” In his everyday work, “he has continued to impress me with his dedication,” says Jones. “Kenneth not only performs his duties above and beyond but he encourages everyone to do the same. He is constantly sharing and enlightening us with the continuous knowledge he possesses.”

Jones adds, “There are no words or amount of money that could compare to the compassion, time and selflessness that Kenneth has so graciously given to EMS. He constantly looks for the good in people and brings out the best in those around him.”

“Kenneth Davenport is an exceptional person and a paramedic who is highly regarded in the EMS community and truly deserves this award,” says Lyons.

Dean Darling
Darling is an EMT-I with Sauk Prairie Ambulance Association, Sauk City, Wis., serving with the agency since 1982. He was nominated by his coworker, Joe Welsch. Welsch relates that Darling once responded to a pager call while off duty, and saved a pulseless, non-breathing man's life by starting CPR quickly before the ambulance could arrive. That man he saved was Welsch's father – and Darling was the reason Welsch became an EMT. “Dean is the best EMT I have ever known,” Welsch says.

As training director for the Sauk Prairie Ambulance Association, Darling has trained every EMT with the service and is highly respected throughout the area for his knowledge of patient care. “Many nights and weekends you can find Dean helping new and veteran EMTs review skills or teaching new procedures. He is a great teacher, mentor, and role model for all of us; his skills as an EMT are unsurpassed and respected by all,” says Kevin Weber, his director at Sauk Prairie Ambulance. “On calls, Dean’s priority is to give quality care and advocate for patients' health and well-being. He will accept nothing less than the absolute best patient care and treatment. Evidence of this is the numerous hours he spends reading articles and texts to continue to educate himself in the latest trends and techniques, continually practicing his advanced skills and afterwards imparting his knowledge and skills to the members of the service.”

“Dean is always looking for new ways to move the service forward,” says Welsch. Darling has introduced several new programs, including: a program to fund and place defibrillators in all ambulances; the area's first-ever bike medic program, which allows EMTs on bicycles to respond quickly to patients in crowded areas during events; upgrading Sauk Prairie Ambulance from a basic level volunteer service to intermediate IV level; and working with law enforcement to form a search and rescue team, prompted by the lack of one to find a missing child.

James Anderson, Village President of Sauk City, says that “Dean has worked well above and beyond expectations as a volunteer to keep SPAA a quality service. He has incorporated a number of techniques that give SPAA the ability to deal with more serious traumas as well as routine EMS services. Dean started Combat Applied Tourniquet (CAT) to help with the more extensive injuries and spent a considerable amount of time to make this a quality project. He spoke with local military personnel to learn how CAT was used on the combat field so he could teach the proper application.” Darling also introduced intraosseous (IO), Anderson says, spending a good deal of his own time in learning the process before he taught the other members of SPAA.

“I have never met and probably never will meet a person who is as dedicated and giving of his life and who puts his whole heart into EMS as Dean Darling. I would trust my life to him,” says Weber.

Each nominee for the 2012 NAEMT Paramedic of the Year and EMT of the Year was judged on how he/she:

  • provides superior patient care;
  • is an effective advocate for patients and their families;
  • works with peers to foster a positive work environment;
  • demonstrates professionalism in interacting with patients, their families and other medical professionals; and
  • demonstrates a commitment to continuing professional education.

Other awards presented included:

  • Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award: Will Chapleau, EMT-P, RN, TNS - Read article hereSponsored by NREMT
  • Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year: New Orleans EMS  Sponsored by Ferno
  • Impact Volunteer EMS Service of the Year: Friendswood Volunteer Fire Department EMS, Friendswood, Texas  Sponsored by Impact Instrumentation 

New Orleans EMS
Hurricane Katrina led to the deaths of more than 1,800 Americans and shattered an entire region of the country, including the beloved institution of New Orleans. But if any good can come from such a calamity, it’s the premier prehospital care the Big Easy receives today.

At the forefront of that is New Orleans EMS, whose rise from the floodwaters earned it the Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year Award.

Katrina still shapes NOEMS’ circumstances in countless ways, from the temporary quarters that house its crews to the number of hospitals that can take its patients. But with a little federal help, a lot of individual dedication and a forced starting-over, New Orleans EMS has emerged a stronger, more capable service marked by innovation and quality care.

Here are some of the reasons why this year’s panel of EMS experts selected New Orleans:

  • Through a partnership with LSU, EM residents work in the field alongside medics. “The medical control doctors know who the paramedics are, the paramedics know who the doctors are,” Dr. Elder says. “It benefits communications.”
  • Under the VIGOR program (Volunteers in Government of Responsibility), more than 100 volunteer EMTs and paramedics join crews to help provide care during peak times and major events.
  • NOEMS is a rare system that uses prehospital ultrasound. While currently restricted to physicians, it should soon extend to medics.
  • A paramedic/RN is devoted to identifying frequent nonemergency 9-1-1 users and connecting them with resources to meet their needs.

“The main thing people should know is that none of this would have happened if not for our people working the streets every day," says Jeffrey Elder, MD, the service’s director and medical director. "We know it gets hard out there, and without them we wouldn’t be anywhere. That’s the key to the success of this whole operation.” 

Friendswood, Texas, Volunteer Fire Department EMS
Founded in 1972, Friendswood, Texas, Volunteer Fire Department EMS, recipient of this year's Impact Volunteer EMS Service of the Year Award, has from its beginning been a true community enterprise. The agency provides service to the city of Friendswood and its approximately 38,000 residents. The service responds to between 2,500 - 2,600 calls a year.

EMS Chief Lisa Camp (also NAEMT's 2010 Paramedic of the Year) credits the high level of community spirit among volunteers for the service’s continued success. “All of the medics believe they’re neighbors helping neighbors. That’s kind of our motto,” she says. “You look at the group of volunteers we have— FBI agents, nurses, educators, licensed paramedics, even one guy with a double master’s degree who builds medical equipment. This unique grouping of people has an interest in EMS, but they do it because they want to help their neighbors.”

Always trying to stay ahead of the curve, Friendswood VFD EMS recently entered into a research study with Houston-area Christus St. John Hospital for lactic acid monitoring and also put an excited delirium protocol in place with local police.

Friendswood providers have offered post-cardiac resuscitation hypothermia since 2007 and the agency started using CPAP as a standard of care in 2000.
“A lot of the things we’ve been doing for a long time are becoming the standard of care now around the nation,” Camp says. “Once something comes to the forefront, we research it to find out what’s best for our service and patients, so that we are giving the best care to increase the survivability of these people.”