Award winners

Local winners of Great First Responder Awards are pictured above. They are (left to right) Tanner Henry EMT, Capt. Janet Parsons LP, Rob Cates EMT-P, Don Williams LP, Kevin Grant Administrator. In the back row (left to right) are Jim Schwartz CareFlite CEO, Eric Shugart EMT, Capt. Bryan Gann LP, Charles Martindale EMT, Keith Nierste EMT, Adam Arendt EMT, Alan Gibson EMT-P and Cooke County Judge John Roane. Other award winners not present are Brandon Schroeder LP, Jacob Blount EMT-P, Kyle Baumann EMT-P and Jeff Arendt EMT-P.

They’re already heroes, but now 14 Cooke County Emergency Medical Services staff members can officially call themselves “great,” too.

The Cooke County EMS workers — most of whom are on C shift at the EMS station on Chestnut Street— are among 90 Texans to receive Great First Responder Awards at the annual Emergency Care Update Conference.

Cooke County Emergency Medical Services Adminstrator Kevin Grant said his award-winning first responders could not attend the Arlington conference because of scheduling conflicts so the event was held at the EMS station on Chestnut Street.

He said the awards are important.

“I just think we have an outstanding bunch of emergency workers who serve Cooke County and it’s essential to recognize that,” he said.

The award program is co-sponsored by CareFlite and the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council to honor those on the front lines of emergency care.

The organizations have been handing out the awards for about five years, Grant noted.

Winners must demonstrate extraordinary dedication and excellent service, he said.

Cooke County Judge John Roane presented the awards Thursday at the Cooke County EMS station at 305 S. Chestnut St.

The responders received the award for their assistance in a Sept. 29, 2009 accident on Hwy. 82 involving an 18-wheeler containing heavy pipes.

From large urban departments to small rural, volunteer fire departments, first responders answer the call day and night from residents who require assistance. They often face situations that many of us can’t even imagine and they do it because they want to help others.

Great First Responders are chosen by their peers and represent service above self.

CareFlite and the Dallas-Ft. Worth Hospital Council consider factors such as length of service, going beyond the call of duty and exhibiting heroism or providing extraordinary service to a patient or community when determining who should get the awards.

CareFlite is the oldest joint use air medical program in the United States, according to a press release from the organization.

The agency was founded in 1979 and is a non-profit air and ground ambulance service that serves the region and its citizens, the release stated.

CareFlite supports and provides education to first responders across the region. Today CareFlite is sponsored by the Baylor Health Care System, JPS Health Network, Methodist Health System, Parkland Health and Hospital System and Texas Health Resources.

According to information provided by the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, the council’s mission is to continually improve patient safety and quality of healthcare. DFWH C creates innovative solutions through collaboration and coordination of efforts, serving as advocates for day-to-day issues that affect hospitals. DFWHC is comprised of hospitals and healthcare organizations throughout the North Texas region spanning over a 100-mile radius from its headquarters in Irving.

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