The 2012 KEMSA Award Winners were recognized at the 2012 Last Blast of Summer Awards Banquet on Saturday, August 11, 2012. Learn about why they were nominated and see their photos below.

Cara Everhart Award - Tammie Henson

Tammie Henson, paramedic and McPherson County Safe Kids board member, is the recipient of the 2012 Cara Everhart Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Henson was nominated for her contributions to the care and community education of pediatric patients. She is on the board for the McPherson chapter of Safe Kids, and actively attends and recruits volunteers from EMS and the community to assist with events including bike rodeos; Spot the Tot; Medicine Chest talks; how and when to call 911 for school age children; Safety Friends; and more. All of these events are used to educate children and parents regarding safety issues. Henson also is the only car seat tech for McPherson EMS, and spends many of her days off assisting people with proper installation of car seats and general education on children riding in cars safely. She never misses an opportunity to educate the public on pediatric safety or public relations regarding child safety. She has been active in educating EMS about how to transport pediatric patients in the ambulance and will answer questions from anyone on this topic. She reads to school children, interacts wonderfully with them and even taught others how to show the ambulance and equipment to school age children in a way that they will understand and be interested in. Henson is truly an asset to McPherson Safe Kids and to the education of medical personnel and the public in pediatric care and safety.

The criteria for this award includes an outstanding individual or group that has shown excellence and dedication to children through pediatric emergency care and/or family centered care. Eligibility includes any healthcare provider, healthcare organization, healthcare association, educator, or child advocate. This award is also sponsored by Kansas Emergency Medical Services for Children, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Lifetime Achievement Award - Garry Tolle

Retired Sedgwick County EMS Interim Director Garry Tolle was the recipient of the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Tolle is a paramedic whose EMS career spanned more than 36 years. He served as the Sedgwick County EMS Interim Director on two separate occasions, was an integral member of the Kansas Region III Major Emergency Response Group (MERGe), was affiliated with the Region III Homeland Security Council, and was involved in numerous other EMS-related partnerships and initiatives. Tolle also helped provide leadership and support to projects such as Sedgwick County EMS Honor Guard, Disaster Medical Support Unit, and CAAS Accreditation. He was nominated for his desire to be a patient advocate, his leadership, and the overall concern he had for those he worked with.

This award is awarded to any Kansas Certified EMS attendant whose contributions to pre-hospital care have been consistent and long lasting, representing in effect, a lifetime of outstanding service to the profession and to the public.

EMT of the Year Award - John Foulston

John Foulston, AEMT with Butler County EMS, was the recipient of the 2012 EMT of the Year Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Foulston is not just a rare find among EMS technicians, he's one of a kind as EMS is his second career. For 30 years, Foulston worked in law as a successful attorney and later a judge. He became interested in EMS as "something different" late in his law career and began to volunteer in the small town of Potwin, Kan. in Butler County. His passion and dedication to EMS only grew over time and over the last few years, Foulston has successfully moved into a full-time position with Butler County EMS, gained his EMT-I certification, and recently completed his AEMT transition. At a level of maturity when most are in full retirement, Foulston is a fully active and dedicated field technician. In early fall 2011, Foulston became passionate about forming a professional volunteer reserve corps for Butler County EMS. Now, less than a year later, he has trained and prepared nearly 20 volunteers in the reserve corps, all of which are very capable technicians, and help to cover standbys, large events, and shift openings. So, in addition to the many other talents and abilities Foulston brings to Butler County EMS, he has also successfully expanded the ability of the department to provide needed services to the community and streamlined pre-hospital operations.

This award is for a Kansas EMT who has significantly contributed to EMS at the community, state and/or national level. It can be any level of EMT.

Paramedic of the Year Award - Michelle Owen

Michelle Owen, paramedic with Clay County EMS, was the recipient of the 2012 Paramedic of the Year Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Owen has been working to help the citizens of Clay County for more than 10 years. She was originally an Emergency Room Nurse, but two years ago decided to work full-time for Clay County EMS and went through the paramedic program at Barton County Community College. She decided to move to EMS so that her patients would receive the best patient care that they could possibly receive. Owen is currently a shift supervisor with Clay County EMS. Her nomination said “[Owen] continues to progress with EMS and sets the standard for what patient care should be in the state of Kansas.”

The Paramedic of the Year Award is for any Kansas paramedic who has significantly contributed to EMS at the community, state and/or national level, and whose primary responsibility is providing direct patient care.

Educator of the Year Award - Justin Swank

Justin Swank, paramedic with Finney County EMS, was the recipient of the 2012 Donald E. White Educator of the Year Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Swank is very active in education teaching many alphabet classes, transition courses as the state moves to new certification levels in the EMS field, and initial courses. He recently pioneered an online EMT-I to AEMT class complete with course lectures and homework designed to assist the student in maximum learning. He was nominated because he is accessible to all his students and he provides all his students with the knowledge and tools needed to provide quality patient care. Swank’s nomination said “Swank is an outstanding educator. He is as dedicated to helping his students learn as he is to continuing to learn himself. He does not teach to pass boards, but rather to be a clinician providing excellent, proactive patient care, just as he practices himself.”

This award recognizes an outstanding instructor of initial or continuing EMS education. The nominee must be a Kansas Instructor Coordinator or Training Officer who is recognized by the Kansas Board of EMS to conduct initial courses of instruction or continuing education instruction.

Administrator of the Year Award - Chad Pore

Chad Pore, service director of Kiowa County EMS, was the recipient of the 2012 Administrator of the Year Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Pore was nominated for his dedication and commitment to Kiowa County as a whole. In addition to being an EMS service director, he is President of the Greensburg Rotary, has served as a School Board Member, sits on the local Emergency Planning Committee and the Health & Human Services Committee, and assists with other community activities and functions. Pore believes in the importance of EMS being part of the community and he works to lead by example. Pore also pushed his employees to provide the highest level of care possible and reminds them that their patients deserve the exact same care as patients in communities with more money and more resources. He works hard to provide his service with the necessary equipment, training, education, and other resources to become the best rural EMS agency in Kansas. His ability to think innovatively and explore all his options continues to help his service more forward and rebuild after an EF5 tornado destroyed 95% of the community of Greensburg five years ago.

In order to get this award, the nominee must be an administrator who has made a significant contribution to EMS Administration on a local, state or national level, and whose primary responsibility is the direction of individuals involved in the delivery of pre-hospital care.

Community Service Award - Kiowa County EMS

Kiowa County EMS was the recipient of the 2012 Community Service Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Kiowa County EMS is the lead agency for Kiowa County Safe Kids and was named the Kansas Safe Kids Coalition of the Year in December 2011. Through their Safe Kids program, they have worked with local schools to offer bicycle safety programs that reached all students in grades K-5. They have also focused on child passenger safety by sending two crew members to become certified as Child Passenger Safety Technicians. These technicians inspect and install child passenger seats and the department provides child passenger seats free of charge. Other activities include pool safety, lawn mower safety, fireworks safety, ATV safety, walk to school day, the safest generation, Cub Scout automotive patch program, and countdown2drive. The amount of time and effort put in to coordinate and host these events to decrease unintentional injuries in kids is something not found in most EMS agencies throughout Kansas.

In addition to these activities through Safe Kids, Kiowa County EMS provides many other opportunities and benefits to the community. Most notably is the agency providing free CPR & AED training to the community. They train every sixth thru 12th graders in CPR every other year and more than 10% of the community is trained in CPR. The service also provides standbys at community functions including junior high and high school football games and track meets, the local rodeo, the county fair, and other events free of charge. One of the big events hosted by Kiowa County EMS is the Breast Cancer Research Foundation fundraiser. In each of the last two years, the agency has worked closely with the school to provide this event during a local football game. They have also worked closely with local businesses to provide prizes. Nearly $4,000 has been raised over the last two years to help find a cure for Breast Cancer. The commitment Kiowa County EMS has to the communities within Kiowa County is something found in very few agencies today due to budget cuts and time constraints. This agency has made a commitment to be part of the community and to provide necessary training, education, and illness and injury prevention on a regular basis regardless of budget constraints. Kiowa County EMS personnel are leaders in Kansas when it comes to being an integral part of the community.

This award is awarded to an individual or team who has been involved in the development of innovative approaches to injury / illness prevention or EMS awareness within the community. Nominees are any Kansas Certified EMS attendant or EMS agency licensed by the Kansas Board of EMS.

Type II Service of the Year Award - Norwich EMS

Norwich EMS was the recipient of the 2012 Type II Service of the Year Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Nearly one year ago, it became apparent that Argonia EMS would no longer be able to provide enough staff to cover their response area on a 24/7 basis. Even though Argonia is 15 miles from one hospital and 20 miles from another one, it looked as if there would be no way to get patients there safely. Citizens were terrified, and there was talk of going back in time to the 1950s, when patients were placed in the back of station wagons and taken to the hospital. Fortunately, the volunteers of Norwich Ambulance Service (Norwich EMS) graciously voted to cover Argonia's response area and the city council agreed. Argonia EMS became Argonia First Responders and would respond when possible, and Norwich EMS would respond as well.

A grateful Argonia community has seen Norwich EMS respond in the dead of night or to fires on blistering hot afternoons. Without fail, they have been there. In addition to accepting the new territory in Sumner County, Norwich EMS has, on numerous occasions, worked to back up Kingman EMS when their personnel were out of their area on runs. Consequently, it can be said that Norwich EMS, on occasions, covers an area with a diameter of at least 50 miles!

Norwich EMS has also maintained a well-trained volunteer staff with sufficient numbers to cover all of their response areas 24/7. In addition, training and certification classes are offered on an on-going basis so that future citizens can count on a proud, competent, and confident, Norwich EMS being there. Finally, they have established, with the help of their community and local governmental agencies, a well-financed and well-managed service.

This award recognizes an EMS system that exemplifies outstanding professionalism and service to the community it serves. It can go to any Kansas licensed Emergency Medical Service as a Type II or Type IIA, except those in which NAEMT leadership participate.

Presidential Leadership Award - Christopher Way

Christopher Way, Chief of Labette County EMS, is the recipient of the 2012 Presidential Leadership Award from the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA).

Each year, the KEMSA President gets to choose a KEMSA member who helps KEMSA grow and progress and honor them with the Kansas EMS Presidential Leadership Award. Way was chosen for this award by the current KEMSA President Terry David because he exemplifies dedication and passion to the EMS profession, not only in Kansas, but regionally and nationally.

Way begins his career in 1992 in Parsons, Kan. as an EMT and worked in Oswego, Kan. He took the Paramedic program from Coffeyville Community College in 1994 and moved to Kansas City in 1995 after accepting a position with the KC Metro Ambulance provider, MAST. He became a Supervisor in 1999 and remained in KC until an opportunity to return home presented itself in November 2001, when he accepted the position of EMS Chief in Labette County.

Way met David in 1998 while attending a Training Officer Class and quickly made friends with many of the EMS Directors in the state of Kansas. According to David, “[Way] quickly established himself as an upcoming leader in the state of Kansas for Emergency Medical Services.”

This is demonstrated by the involvement that Way has in both a regional and national level. He serves on the Southeast Homeland Security Council and has served as President. He also is the Commander of the Southeast Incident Management Team and is the President of Region 6 EMS. He has served in a Governor’s Appointment for eight years to the Advisory Committee on Trauma and has recently been appointed to a federal committee at the CDC to a Expert Panel on Field Triage.

His passion and expertise with disaster response is widely known ,and Way serves as a Deputy Commander on the state of Kansas EMS Major Emergency Response Group (MERGe). He was a major player the night of the Joplin tornado in moving more than 400 patients from Freeman Hospital to other facilities. He also was deployed to Mississippi at the request of the state of Kansas to assist during Hurricane Gustav. In addition, Way is often called upon to teach Incident Management classes across the State of Kansas.

In presenting Way with the award, David noted that John Quincy Adams was quoted as saying “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and become more, than you are a leader.” Way demonstrates that in his daily life, be it at work, home, or the community.

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