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2021 National EMS Awards of Excellence Recipients Announced

Aug 19, 2021

NAEMT and EMS World are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 National EMS Awards of Excellence. The awards will be presented during NAEMT’s General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, October 5, and at the Opening Ceremony of EMS World Expo on October 6 in Atlanta, Georgia. We congratulate the following recipients and recognize their outstanding contributions to the EMS profession and the patients they serve:

Jeremy McElroy, Paramedic, Chesapeake, Virginia
2021 NAEMT/Nasco Paramedic of the Year Award

Tracie Sanders, EMT, Normanna, Texas
2021 NAEMT/Braun Industries EMT of the Year Award

Justin Arnone, BS, NRP, NCEE, TP-C, FP-C, Pride, Louisiana
2021 NAEMT/Jones & Bartlett Learning EMS Educator of the Year Award

MSG Michael Remley ATP, NRP, JBSA Ft Sam Houston, Texas
2021 NAEMT/North American Rescue Military Medic of the Year Award

Kenneth Scheppke, MD, FAEMS, Jupiter, Florida
2021 NAEMT/Bound Tree EMS Medical Director of the Year Award

Brian Moore, MD, FAAP, Albuquerque, New Mexico
2021 NAEMT-AAP/Health Scholars Pediatric EMS Award

Pafford Medical Services (Multiple Locations)
2021 Dick Ferneau Career EMS Service of the Year Award

Darien EMS-Post 53, Darien, Connecticut
2021 EMS World Volunteer EMS Service of the Year Award

Derek Perez-Pilis, St. Petersburg, Florida
2021 EMS World/Dynarex EMS Caring Award

Jeremy McElroy is a nationally registered paramedic and works for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire & Emergency Services, in Norfolk, VA. Nominated by Jason Kinlaw, Regional EMS Chief, Jeremy constantly searches for learning opportunities and skill development. He has an immense impact on the quality of training throughout the department and is a champion of innovation and safety. Jeremy’s passion for teaching and his mentorship to new firefighters is a shining example of how to develop the next generation of EMS practitioners. A former U.S. Marine Corps Infantryman, Jeremy served two tours of duty, receiving a Purple Heart Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon. Jeremy has received two Navy Fire & Emergency Services Life Saving Awards, a Significant Achievement Award for his triage and treatment of a critically injured patient, and an Outstanding Pre-Hospital EMS Provider Award from the Tidewater EMS Council. A role model for his peers, Jeremy is dedicated to taking care of his military and civilian patients.

Tracie Sanders works as an EMT for 9-1-1 services in Normanna, TX, a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is in school to become a registered nurse. Nominated by Chief Lyle Sanders, Tracie has been deployed to several states to support COVID-19 response while learning all she can to improve herself and the experience for her patients. Tracie makes her patients feel more like family, providing a strong customer service experience and advocating on their behalf. She goes out of her way to ensure that her patients and their families have all the information needed to make the best medical decisions. Tracie led the fire department in obtaining their First Responder Organization status with the State of Texas to better provide for the volunteer department’s service area. She jumps in with both feet not only on medical calls but in the day-to-day operations of the Volunteer Fire Department.

Justin Arnone, BS, NRP, NCEE, TP-C, FP-C, works for the St. George Fire Department and is in the Louisiana Army National Guard. He’s worked in the fire service and in EMS for 14 years with 1 combat deployment to Afghanistan. He was nominated by his medical director, Dr. Dan Godbee. Justin has trained over 140 Advanced EMTs within the last 18 months. He built a non-transport ALS Sprint division at his fire department staffed by Paramedics and AEMTs. He helped create clinical guidelines utilized by the local EMS service and fire departments throughout East Baton Rouge Parish. As the lead combat medic instructor for the Louisiana National Guard, Justin designed curricula for combat medic sustainment training which have been modeled by several states. As the Assistant Training Director at East Baton Rouge Parish EMS, Justin enhanced the QA/QI process, restructured the delivery of medical training, and helped rebuild the East Baton Rouge EMS CISM Team and continues to provide CISM training/consulting throughout the state. Justin’s enthusiasm and dedication are examples for all to emulate.

MSG Michael Remley ATP, NRP, is the first Joint Trauma System (JTS) Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA) and a former Senior Special Operations Combat Medic within the 75th Ranger Regiment. He has contributed to saving lives on the battlefield and improving Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), states COL Stacy Shackelford, USAF, MC, Director of the Joint Trauma System, and Remley’s supervisor. He has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and the Army Achievement Medal while deployed. MSG Remley has analyzed, designed, developed, implemented, and updated multiple TCCC courses and has trained and educated countless U.S. military and coalition forces. MSG Remley was key to evolving the 75th Ranger Regiment’s “Ranger First Responder Program” and developing the “Advanced Ranger First Responder Program” which are both considered the standards to follow. As the JTS SEA, he expanded the JTS network and leveraged his knowledge and position to develop trauma policy for the entire Department of Defense. CAPT MC USN (Ret) Frank Butler, MD, said “MSG Remley has been a highly respected member of one of the most elite military units in the world. He is a superb and dedicated medic.” He was also honored with the 2020 Butler Award, the highest award presented by the Committee on TCCC (CoTCCC). 

Kenneth Scheppke, MD, FAEMS, dual board-certified specialist in the field of Emergency Medicine and subspecialty of EMS, serves as Medical Director for several departments and agencies in the Jupiter, FL, area. He was nominated by colleague Dr. Paul Pepe on behalf of over 100 EMS system leaders. Dr. Pepe said, “We see him as a role model for his commitment to clinical excellence in EMS, patient and practitioner safety, and top-notch mentoring and leadership in all aspects of his professional EMS roles.” Dr. Scheppke has received acclaim for his leadership, transformative educational efforts, and compelling ability to expedite early mass vaccination efforts. His advocacy and educational efforts have had impact most recently in support of initiatives by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Scheppke is an extremely talented and motivated individual who has performed exceptionally throughout his academic and professional career.

Brian Moore, MD, FAAP, is a Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico Department of Emergency Medicine. Nominated by Dr. Rachel Elizabeth Tuuri, Division Chief, Dr. Moore is a longstanding national leader, mentor, and educator in pediatric pre-hospital emergency care and EMS for Children (EMSC). He has been a trailblazer in setting policy, improving care for children in the prehospital setting, and advocating for change in federal legislation. Over the past 18 years, Dr. Moore has served extensively in national leadership roles, authored many joint organization policy statements and was the primary author on “Pediatric Prehospital Readiness in Emergency Medical Systems.” Dr. Moore is also an advocate and helped to pass in 2018 the Airplane Kids in Transit Safety Act, a federal law mandating that medical kits on airplanes have medication doses and equipment appropriate for the care of children.

Starting 54 years ago with one Cadillac ambulance, Pafford Medical Services has grown into a six-state, 54 agency-operation EMS powerhouse that has served its communities during natural disasters, MCI events and a once-in-a-century milestone pandemic, not to mention the regularly occurring 9-1-1 calls that require their prompt attention. Pafford provides BLS, ALS, CCT, special event medical standby services and cutting-edge tactical EMS operations to multiple states in the U.S. as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Pafford’s fleet of 175+ ambulances, 3 fixed wing aircrafts, and 4 helicopters support the company’s life-preserving care. Numerous educational trainings, community support services and industry partnerships position the company as a true EMS leader. Outreach includes free “Stop the Bleed” and CPR classes to community groups, civic groups, schools, and churches; “Camp-Save-A-Life,” a summer youth health camp to introduce kids to the medical industry; “Explore Success,” a career path expo benefiting junior high students; fundraisers to benefit the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Race for the Cure, and families that have been impacted in local communities; HeartWalk; Toys for Tots and “Pack the Ambulance” toy drives, and many more.

In 1970, John E. “Bud” Doble launched Darien-EMS Post 53 as a Boy Scout project to give high school students the chance to administer emergency medical treatment while teaching them about the dangers of substance abuse. The service had a budget of $150 and used a converted telephone truck to respond to calls. Post 53 is now the official contracted 9-1-1 provider in its Darien jurisdiction, responds to 1,600 calls per year, and includes three fully equipped ambulances, three supervisor flycars, and a mass casualty bus. Post 53 is a 100% high school student-run BLS organization in which students are responsible for staffing ambulances, overseeing operations, ordering supplies, planning CE and supporting fundraising efforts. Each crew comprises at least two young adult certified EMTs plus an adult EMT supervisor. Members volunteer over 90,000 hours annually with a yearly operating budget of approximately $425,000. Operating expenses are 100% funded through donations, special events and grants. Post 53 requires over 200 hours of training to volunteer, and partners with its local fire department for vehicle extrication and water rescue training. Post 53 volunteers provide ambulance tours, 9-1-1 talks and safety presentations, event medical coverage, and CPR/AED and Stop the Bleed training.

Derek Perez-Pilis began his career as a firefighter-paramedic at just 15 years old. As he tells it, the day of his first ridealong was the day he knew he was meant for this career. He now serves as a firefighter-paramedic and flight medic for the City of St. Petersburg Fire-Rescue and Bayflite. “Since I have known him, his mindset has never wavered from delivering one hundred percent of himself every time,” says his nominator Kasey L. Cowser, DDS. In 2017, Perez-Piris responded to a house fire involving a 6-year-old boy who suffered serious burns to 75% percent of his body. Perez-Piris arranged for the boy’s favorite Marvel character to surprise him in person at the hospital and coordinated with local businesses to donate Christmas presents to the family. Perez-Piris has traveled to Haiti twice in the last two years, teaching advanced medical training and educating citizens on CPR and wound sterilization. He helped train Haitian medical teams in emergency trauma, care trauma, flight trauma, and ambulance care. Perez-Pilis initiated and led the first EMS competition team in the City of St. Petersburg (Fire Rescue), leading the national competition team to multiple first-place victories, including the FDNY’s own competition.

View nomination criteria