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EMS Accolades 2001
Texas Department of Health
Honors Emergency Medical Service leaders
with 2001 Texas EMS Awards


The EMS organizations and people listed below took top honors at this year’s EMS conference. The awards were announced at a luncheon that included a moving tribute by the Lubbock EMS Honor Guard to those fallen in the line of duty and an impassioned speech by Roy Yamada, MD, who won EMS Medical Director of the Year.

Click on the following links to see more information about that winner or scroll down to see all winners.

EMS Public Provider of the Year – City of La Porte Fire Department EMS, for achievements in community education and leadership in emergency medical services to the community. LPEMS serves the cities of La Porte and Morgan’s Point, the Bayport Industrial District, the Battleground Industrial District, the Texas Monument, the Battleship Texas, the Port of Houston and several chemical plants, totaling approximately 75 square miles. LPEMS strongly emphasizes public education in its community. LPEMS, along with several other agencies, participates in a Shattered Dreams program every other year and uses fatal vision goggles to teach local teens about the dangers of drinking and driving. LPEMS also uses its safety clown shows to teach elementary students about staying safe every year and gives free immunizations to kids in the southeast Harris County area. LPEMS personnel also teach bystander CPR and AED use twice a month for the price of $2 and a new unwrapped toy for their Christmas Toy Drive Program. In 2000, LPEMS was able to collect toys and money to provide several gifts for about 400.
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EMS Volunteer Provider of the Year – Friendswood Volunteer Fire Department EMS, for providing excellent emergency medical services to its community. With more than 40 certified and licensed volunteer medics, FEMS serves its community with advanced treatment protocols and continuous quality assessment and improvement. Using first responder vehicles equipped for advanced and basic medical care, FEMS shortened its response time to calls and is able to provide an EMS presence at many community functions. An AED is on every FEMS ambulance and first responder vehicle, with plans to put additional AEDs on fire apparatus and police vehicles. FEMS participates in the Vial of Life program (a medical record system with easy access for caregivers), the National Night Out block party program, community CPR programs, Kid Care Identification program, child immunizations programs and safety clowns programs. FEMS also works with the Friendswood Office of Emergency Management to prepare for disaster situations and to implement rescue efforts during disasters and with the Friendswood Police Department’s Communications division to train dispatchers to incorporate life-saving pre-arrival instructions to emergency callers.
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Citizen Award – Michelle Thomas, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, for her dedication to child injury prevention in south Texas. Thomas worked with the Coastal Bend Regional Advisory Council, Driscoll Children’s Hospital and the Texas Department of Transportation to develop the Keep Your Kids Safe (KYKS) program, a reporting system in which community members who see unrestrained children riding in vehicles can use a toll-free number to report those vehicles to a non-threatening authority and the vehicle owner is offered a free passenger safety seminar and possibly a free car seat. As a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration certified child safety seat technician/instructor, Thomas spends countless hours teaching other how to appropriately protect children in motor vehicles. She also co-chartered the Corpus Christi Youth Alcohol Awareness Coalition and is a charter member of the Corpus Christi Safe Communities Coalition.
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EMS Educator of the Year – Mark Hinson, MA, LP, RN, Methodist Medical Center, for his leadership and commitment to EMS education in Texas. As EMS Education Coordinator for Methodist Medical Center in Dallas, Hinson has added many innovations to the education program, including cadaver labs, clinical rotations in area trauma centers and comprehensive clinical preceptorships. Over the last ten years, he has maintained a more than 98 percent passing rate on the TDH paramedic exam. To maintain his clinical skills he currently works as a PRN nurse in one of Dallas’ trauma centers and works with many students when they rotated through that hospital in their rotations. He also works with the Parent-Teacher Organization of his children’s school to educate parents about child passenger safety and he mentors children at Bowie Elementary in southwest urban Dallas.
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EMS Air Medical Service Award – Memorial Hermann Life Flight, Houston, for leadership in providing air medical services to local communities. Serving Houston and the surrounding communities in a 150-mile radius, Memorial Hermann Life Flight transports the critically ill and injured patients into Houston’s hospitals. Life Flight personnel also educate the surrounding emergency response agencies in basic life support skills, advanced life support skills and pediatric advanced life support skills. Many EMS, fire department and industrial plants have participated in Life Flight’s landing zone orientation classes. Life Flight also has a ride-along program, consisting of an eight-hour assignment with the duty flight crew. While Life Flight has responded to transport individuals during several large disasters during its 25 years of service, its response to Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 had them transporting patients from the flooding Texas Medical Center hospitals.
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EMS Public Information Award – League City Volunteer EMS, for outstanding achievement in public education and injury prevention education in southern Harris County. LCVEMS serves its community through a number of education and service events. Each year, LCVEMS in conjunction with LCFD and LC Police Department, participates in the Blue Santa Program, raising funds and distributing food, toys and other gifts to the underprivileged families in League City at Christmas. LCVEMS personnel have even received a state grant for bicycle helmets for the children who receive bicycles as gifts. LCVEMS recently participated in a citywide Open House, educating citizens about the abilities of the EMS and offering free blood pressure screening. Noting that few younger citizens attended the Open House, LCVEMS participate in the bicycle safety rodeos for elementary students and in the Clear Creek ISD Safety Day for the older kids. As an American Heart Associate Community Training Center, LCVEMS teaches many CPR and first aid classes in the community, including at the middle schools and high schools and in the past year, LCVEMS has taught CPR to more than 500 people. LCVEMS has donated five AEDs to the LCPD and instructed the officers in the use of the device. And LCVEMS has developed a Safe Summer Fun day camp, which teaches children about water safety, bicycle safety, stranger danger and fire safety.
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EMS Person of the Year – Carla Garner, EMT-Intermediate, Sutton County EMS, for leadership and dedication to in providing emergency medical service to the citizens of Texas. A judge in Sutton County, Garner was instrumental in developing Sutton County EMS in the late 1980s. She then joined SCEMS and now instructs EMS, first aid and CPR classes in Sutton, Schleicher, Crockett, Edwards and Irion counties. She formerly served on the Texas Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council, advising the state on rural and frontier EMS issues. Garner has also been instrumental in developing the Sutton County Health Fair, and was awarded the 1998 Gene West Memorial EMT of the Year award by her SCEMS peers.
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EMS Medical Director of the Year – Roy K. Yamada, MD, for work and dedication as medical director for Mansfield Fire Department, Bedford Fire Department, North Richland Hill Fire Department, Midlothian Fire Department and DFW International Airport. He tirelessly works with the medics conducting education classes, reviews incidents, discusses protocols and current trends in emergency medicine, visits the fire stations and rides out with the crews, responds to emergencies, and generally is available 24 hours a day for assistance or counsel. He is also an emergency physician at two Dallas area hospitals. When two medics working for Mansfield FD were injured while running a call, Dr. Yamada went to the hospital to see that they were getting the best care possible and to be with their families. He has also taken special treats and gifts to EMS personnel when they had to work and be away from their families on holidays.
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EMS Administrator of the Year – Steve Appling, Jr, EMT-Intermediate, El Campo EMS, for leadership in quality prehospital patient care and community wide emergency response. Having worked in EMS for more than 30 years, Appling has always strived for the best in care from himself and from his service. He volunteered with the service for six years before he was hired as a medic. Since he became administrator, the service has increased its level of care from basic life support to mobile intensive care. He has set up in-house training programs and advanced national certification courses for the EMS personnel. Much of the service’s medical equipment has been purchased with grants, a funding process that he learned so that the service could increase its level of care. He also teaches EMS classes at the local junior college and first aid and CPR classes for area citizens. He coordinates with the local schools to educate children about how to use 9-1-1 and to help them understand that they should not be afraid of EMS. He is also a supporter and contributor to the regional trauma council.
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EMS Bureau Chief’s Award – Texas Task Force 1, College Station, in recognition of their dedication and response to the World Trade Center bombing in September. TX-TF1 used their expertise in urban search and rescue to assist the New York emergency response personnel in the search for survivors in the building wreckage. When large metal pieces were deemed to be so dangerous that not even New York City metal workers would move them and rescue work halted, TX-TF1 members used their high angle rescue training skills to remove the pieces so that they no longer threatened rescue workers. TX-TF1 members also used swift water rescue skills to rescue more than 1,100 Houston citizens trapped by Tropical Storm Allison’s floods. The team also responded to the tornadoes in Fort Worth in 2000 and the Texas A&M Bonfire collapse in 1999. TX-TF1 is the first Urban Search and Rescue team in Texas and was accepted into FEMA’s National Urban Search and Rescue Response System in 2000.
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Outstanding RAC of the Year – Southeast Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, for continuing excellence in regional trauma system development. SETRAC coordinated the medical response to Tropical Strom Allison in Houston and the surrounding areas in 2001. SETRAC members coordinated emergency callers with the appropriate services and coordinated hospital openings with incoming patients or patients being moved from flooding facilities. They also coordinated the set up and use of a military mobile hospital that had been set up in Houston’s AstroHall to handle major trauma cases (since most of Houston’s trauma facilities were not functioning). SETRAC also uses grant funding to help emergency agencies in its service area receive necessary training. SETRAC members are also part of the “Defense of Houston” disaster/terroristic activity task force. The task force is working to consolidate and develop training programs to assist the Houston area hospitals and emergency responders to be more prepared in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
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