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KEMSA Award Winners 2015

The 2015 KEMSA Award Winners were recognized at the 2015 KEMSA Conference & Expo "Honoring Our Own” Awards Banquet on Saturday, August 15, 2015 in Topeka, Kansas. Learn about why they were nominated below.


Ron Work, retired EMT with Norwich Ambulance Service, was the recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1978, Work took an EMT class and began his long career volunteering for the Argonia EMS service. He wanted to serve his community and recruit others to do the same, so he became very involved in the local service as an active member. As a young EMT, he was anxious to respond to emergencies. When asked about EMS, he tells how it was a big part of his life. He says he never grew tired talking about it.

Work was also a high school science teacher at Norwich High School where he would encourage the students to volunteer. He would share about being an EMT and volunteering for his community. The students could see him carrying a pager and a radio, sometimes hearing a call or page. It would often pique the interest of his students. Work petitioned the school district for many years to sponsor an EMT class at the high school level. Finally, he was successful in getting the school board to approve a course to be offered, and his passion for EMS rubbed off on the students. In a high school of 55 students, 10 students were signed up for the course.

Over the years, Work was a strong advocate for volunteer and rural EMS. He believed in supporting local volunteers and advocated strongly in his community and at community meetings for others to serve. In 2011, the service was taken over by Norwich EMS, and Work continued to serve. He knew the importance of having a local ambulance and response. Norwich always knew that if Work was in town, he could be counted on to be there.

After 37 years of volunteering, life took a different direction for Work, and it was extremely difficult for him to turn in his badge this year. His dedication and commitment to EMS has driven him to service and he recognizes the need still exists. However, after a lifetime of service he has retired. Burnout was never an issue as he served proudly and quietly longer than some have paid careers. His love of EMS can be seen as his eyes light up when asked about being an EMT. This award is given 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.


Edward Parks, AEMT with Norwich Ambulance Service, was the recipient of the 2015 EMT of the Year Award. Parks was nominated for this award for his dedication as a volunteer in his community for 18 years. He is committed, dedicated, and willing to serve, which makes him an outstanding recipient of this award.

In 1997, in an effort to help his community, Parks took a first responder course. After witnessing the need for patients to receive more care, Parks continued his education. He received his EMT certification in 1998. His desire to provide advanced services to his community grew, and in 1999 and 2000, he received his EMT-I and EMT-D certifications. With the AEMT certification introduced, in 2012 Parks committed to receiving his certification to even further increase the services available to his service area. He is currently serving as the assistant director to Norwich EMS and has gained his Training Officer I (TOI) certification.

Throughout his years of service, Parks has continually given of his time for his community. His dedication is shown through the hours of on call time. In 2014, Ed volunteered for more than 2,000 hours of call time. As of June 2015, he has already covered 1,368 hours of call time. This doesn’t include the hours spent running calls. If an emergency call comes in while he is at home and able to go, Ed will respond to ensure the patient can receive ALS services as well as provide support to his fellow service members. Last year, he had the second highest call response in the service.

Not only are countless hours spent volunteering to cover shifts for his community, Parks spends a large amount of time ensuring the service is providing quality pre-hospital care to his community. In 2012, he spent over 300 volunteer hours researching and rewriting protocols. He provided an update to the protocols in 2015, spending over 120 volunteer hours. He also volunteers to teach continuing education frequently to the service, volunteers for community publicity and education events, teaches CPR classes and spends numerous volunteer office hours working on service items as well as other duties. The amount of hours each year volunteered by Parks is astounding. His emphasis on providing quality care in volunteer services is evident. He believes strongly that volunteer does not mean unprofessional, and he strives to maintain a level of excellence and instills that in his cohorts.

Parks attends conferences, trainings and educational offerings year round. It is important to him to ensure he keeps current on EMS practices as well as his knowledge and skills sharp. Parks is diligent to maintain a high standard of care, and it is evident in his patient care.

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.


Shannon Reed, Paramedic/Captain with Sedgwick County EMS, was the recipient of the 2015 Paramedic of the Year Award. Reed was nominated for this award for her commitment to the profession of EMS, which is evident in all of her activities, both at and outside of work. Her reputation brings such words as smart, dedicated, excellent paramedic, and one of the best. Her coworkers describe her as being dedicated to the profession, going above and beyond, and committed to quality.

Reed started her EMS career in 2002. She continued her education and gained her paramedic. In 2012, she increased her education and skill base by becoming CCEMT-P certified. Currently, she is employed by Sedgwick County EMS and holds the title of captain. Not only is she a skilled street medic, she shares her love of EMS as she assists in training students and new hires. She has the ability to help new hires through the credentialing process as well as taking a brand new out of school medic and developing them into a quality provider. Students at the community college have high regard for her in the classroom setting. She is highly sought after for lab assistant, clinical site liaison, and field preceptor. She encourages students to seek out more information, not be satisfied with barely passing and to delve deeper into the material. She also holds her students at a high level of expectation.

Off duty, Reed spends her time continuing her studies, taking extra education courses, and ensuring she is staying up to date with current EMS trends. Never satisfied with staying stagnant, she continually seeks out more information and training to keep her skills and knowledge base sharp. In addition, she spending off duty time developing educational materials for her students as she completely dedicates herself to being an educator.

In June 2014, Reed and her partner were called to a very difficult and emotional scene for a code blue infant. Her strong leadership skills helped lead her team to the successful resuscitation of the two month old baby girl. She was able to think quickly while maintaining a calm presence. Because she was able to show great leadership as well as provide lifesaving care for this baby, the baby’s life was saved. For this act, she received the Red Cross 2014 AEI LLC EMS Hero award. When presented with the award, Reed very humbly dismissed the attention, and acknowledged her team that assisted in the call.

Reed’s demonstrated commitment to EMS can be witnessed in her patient care, continued educational efforts and leadership at Sedgwick County. Her diligence to ensure Kansas EMS is providing high quality services to the public is outstanding. Because of these reasons, Reed was deserving of the honor of Paramedic of the Year.

This award is for a Kansas Paramedic who has significantly contributed to EMS at the community, state and/or national level. It can be any Kansas Paramedic whose primary responsibility is providing direct patient care.


Zachary Bieghler, director of Kigman EMS, was the recipient of the 2015 Administrator of the Year Award. Bieghler, paramedic/instructor coordinator (IC), took his first director position with Kingman EMS in September 2012 when the service was in the midst of change. He had a challenging task to rebuild the service. But, Bieghler accepted the challenge and has successfully navigated the service into a strong, active EMS service.

Since Bieghler became director, the service has added new equipment. Through grants, Kingman EMS has received a Stryker Power Pro cot, Zoll X series monitor, combi boards, and a stair chair. The service has upgraded the rest of their equipment over the last three years as well. Bieghler’s commitment to excellence has increased the quality of equipment that Kingman EMS utilizes This commitment ensures that the technicians will have the equipment necessary to provide quality care to their patients.

Bieghler is also committed to recruiting personnel. He has held an EMR and EMT class to gain more technicians. He has been able to attract new students for the courses in an effort to reach out into the community. Previously it was a challenge to gain new personnel for the service, however it is no longer difficult.

Bieghler’s community outreach efforts have also extended beyond recruitment as Kingman EMS is now an active member in the Kingman community. The EMS service can be seen providing training, at standbys, a resource for the community and school. Bieghler has worked hard to develop a positive working relationship with the local hospital as well. He has been able to provide training and attended training with hospital staff. He engages the hospital staff in the service’s Quality Assurance (QA) reviews. The relationship that has been built allows the EMS service and hospital to collaborate together to provide a seamless coordination of patient care. Due to Bieghler’s leadership, the service has implemented progressive protocols that allow technicians to provide quality care and meet the needs of the patients. Bieghler continues to take call time and works as a technician on the ambulance alongside his crews. Not only does he work in the office, but he is on call and works duty shifts. These shifts allow him to view the daily operations on the street as a technician. He is able to ensure the administrative requirements are meeting the daily street operational needs.

Kingman EMS is a city-based service that provides county coverage. The service divides the county response area with another city-based service. Under Bieghler’s leadership, Kingman EMS has been able to re-establish a cohesive relationship ensuring that the two services are working together. Due to this, all of the citizens of the county are receiving quality EMS services and the county needs are being met.

Bieghler is active in EMS locally, regionally and at on the state level. He is a board member of Region III, member of the KEMSA administrator’s society, and was recently elected as Chair of the KEMSA Educator’s Society.

This award is for an administrator who has made a significant contribution to EMS Administration on a local, state or national level, and it is awarded to an EMS administrator whose primary responsibility is the direction of individuals involved in the delivery of prehospital care.


Dr. Michael Machen, Medical Director for Quinter Ambulance Service, was the recipient of the 2015 Physician of the Year Award. 2015 marks the 25th year that Dr. Machen has served as the Medical Director of the Quinter Ambulance Service. Although he is the organization’s Medical Director, his professional involvements as a Kansas Physician directly bring a positive impact to Kansas EMS as an entire entity and not just to his local Service. From the EMT picking up a patient on scene, to the nursing staff and physician taking care of the patient that comes into an ER, Dr. Machen has likely had a hand in the excellent care that is provided to that patient.

In 2011, The Medical Advisory Council (MAC) was created by the legislature when KMS and the EMS Medical Directors sought to enhance the involvement of physicians in the development of medical policy and standards by the EMS Board. Dr. Machen was one of the eight original physicians of the MAC, and serves on this committee still today.

Although Dr. Machen’s professional dossier is quite extensive, it is his contribution well beyond his patient encounters and clinic hours that he deserves further accolades for. Relating to EMS, Dr. Machen’s contributions are not limited to his service on the “MAC” (other examples include but are not limited to):

  • 2004 to present - Physician Representative on Executive Committee of NW Kansas Trauma Council
  • 2012 to present - State of Kansas Governor’s Advisory Committee on Trauma
  • 1990 to present - Medical Director for Quinter Ambulance Service
  • Current Medical Director for the North West Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative

KMS Board of Trustees - Dr. Machen has previously held 5 different offices between the years of 1995 and 2016. (District 16 councilor, Treasurer, State Officer - Vice Speaker, President, Past President)

To Quinter Ambulance Service, Dr. Machen, means so much more than the list of awards and accomplishments on his resume. The Quinter Ambulance Service is the LAST stand alone Type II (BLS) fully volunteer service in the State of Kansas. The service is not owned by a company, a municipality, a county or a hospital QAS is owned and operated by its 17 current volunteers, and they operate under the medical direction of Dr. Machen. He understands the chain of events that occur and works tirelessly to improve each link of that chain resulting not only in a better outcome for the patient, but better skills of the provider and care provided to his patient. He expects the best - every day, every encounter, just as if the EMS personnel were a full-time paid service with technicians who work full shifts daily. Dr. Machen’s service is extraordinary, honorably commendable, and selfless.

This award is offered to recognize any Kansas licensed physician who provides commendable service to the benefit of EMS in Kansas. The physician can be an Emergency Department physician, service Medical Director or any other physician who has provided a positive impact to Kansas EMS.


Teena Johnston, former Trauma Outreach Coordinator with Wesley Medical Center, was the recipient of the 2015 Support Person of the Year Award. This award was given posthumously as Johnston died of cancer in June 2015. Her husband Dave, son Ayden, and her parents accepted her award.

Johnston served as the Trauma Outreach Coordinator for Wesley Medical Center's Level I Trauma Team. In her capacity as Trauma Outreach Coordinator, she served as the liaison to EMS for information and feedback regarding prehospital care of trauma patients received by Wesley. She was always tactful, knowledgeable, and genuine in how this information was communicated, always in the spirit of ensuring the focus was solely on providing trauma care to a high standard. Johnston also coordinated the monthly Trauma Critiques by Wesley, in which EMS providers were invited to share in the Quality Improvement process with the Wesley Trauma Services staff. Johnston, the wife of KEMSA Past President Dave Johnston, was highly supportive of the organization and its mission, as evidenced by her support of Dave's supreme efforts to represent and move KEMSA forward.

Johnston was taken from all of us to early by renal cancer, just three months after her diagnosis. As shocking and unfair as this was, the memories of Johnston as a wonderful person and highly talented nurse who had dedicated her career to the care of trauma patients and the promotion of quality care with EMS will live on in the memories of many Kansas EMS providers forever.

This award is offered to recognize one of the many individuals whose efforts enhance EMS in Kansas through their actions as a First Responder, Nurse, Dispatcher, Law Enforcement Officer, Pilot, Supervisor or other individual who would not fit into the other categories for individual recognition.


Newton Fire/EMS was the recipient of the 2015 Type I (Paramedic) Service of the Year . In 1997, the Newton Ambulance Department combined with the Newton Fire Department to form Newton Fire/EMS. Before the merger, Newton Ambulance Department had been at the forefront of modern EMS, enjoying the distinction of being the first department in the state, and among the first departments in the entire nation, to provide paramedic-level care in 1972. Today the department personnel are dual-role: they provide fire suppression, transport ALS EMS, vehicle extrication, hazmat, specialized rescue, and more with a call volume of 3,500 per year.

They have department members active with MERGe, FORCe, Kansas Task Force 1 and 5, South Central Kansas Incident Management Team, South Central Kansas Urban Search & Rescue Team, KEMSA Board of Directors, Region III Board of Directors, South Central Homeland Security Council, and Newton Chamber of Commerce.

Newton Fire/EMS also has a very active Disaster Medical Support Unit (DMSU), who has expanded their scope of practice past disaster medical support to include responder rehab and medical monitoring and large-scale event coordination. Their Tactical Paramedic unit is attached to the Harvey County Emergency Response Team, which is a regionally deployable high-risk law enforcement unit. Also, a group of their members have partnered with Newton High School to provide a lecture / hands-on program for driver’s education students three times each summer since 1997. This group has touched the lives of several hundred young drivers over the years.

Their public education team is active in the schools with fire and injury prevention messages, and their members engage with members of the community with initiatives ranging from on-site hands-on fire extinguisher training programs to local businesses, to supplying and installing smoke detectors in citizens’ homes. Each month their members participate in a reading / mentoring program in which they read with 3rd graders from selected classrooms. This is really more about developing relationships and modeling appropriate behavior with the students than with reading, and the kids (and firefighters) really look forward to it every month. They have an active Quality Improvement program, in which department members meet monthly with their medical director to review all high-acuity EMS calls and special cases. This open dialogue between line providers, administration, and the local medical community provides a high degree of transparency and accountability to their operation. In addition, they have developed a fall prevention program with partner agencies which rolled out this year.

The list of accolades for this department could go on and on. KEMSA is very excited to present Newton Fire/EMS with this award. 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 I or an air service.


Clay County EMS was the recipient of the 2015 Type II (BLS) Service of the Year Award. An EMS system provides care when they are called, and a great EMS system provides a “service” to their community. Clay County EMS does just this as they provide care and education outside of the realm of ambulance calls. Whether it is providing standbys for sporting events, public education such as helmet fitting, or car seat checks, or helping people work their home medical equipment, they truly provide a “service” to their community.

Clay County in North Central Kansas is a rural farm county with a total population of 8,317 people as of 2014. Clay County EMS has an average of 600 calls a year. Clay County EMS and their medical director work constantly to ensure that the citizens of Clay County are getting the best prehospital care possible. Clay County EMS provides paramedic and AEMT level care on almost every shift. Clay County employs four paramedics, two AEMTs, and three EMTs. They also have a long PRN list with six paramedics and four AEMTs that frequently cover shifts and provide ALS coverage at all the events that Clay County provides.

The nomination letter explained that in the past this department has provided a great service their community while working with equipment and facilities that were less than optimal. However, recently, the facility was upgraded with a new climate controlled bay for the ambulances with new storage and an exercise area for staff. The station was given a facelift as well to improve the comfort level for the staff during 24 hour shifts. In addition, this year CCEMS received a new Ambulance as well as X series ZOLL monitors.

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.

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