Nominees honored for service, commitment and selflessness
MOOSIC, Pa. – First-responders from Pittston and Pocono Mountain won community-nominated awards for their outstanding compassion and heroism during Geisinger’s 14th annual EMS Provider of the Year Awards Reception at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRider’s PNC Field in Moosic on May 25.
“Without your dedication, selflessness and willingness to answer calls at all hours of the day and night, many of our patients would not survive to talk about the heroes who came to their rescue. Thank you all for the great work you do. Our neighborhoods are healthier and safer because of you,” said David Schoenwetter, D.O., director of Geisinger EMS, who introduced the nominees and named winners of EMS Provider of the Year in two categories.
Alice and Bob Walsh Heroism Award
EMT Michael Ankenbrand and paramedic Emmett Thomas, of Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance, were honored with the newly renamed Alice and Bob Walsh Heroism Award. Their ambulance was struck in a head-on collision, and the first responders extricated themselves and cared for the patient they were transporting — as well as the driver of the other vehicle in the crash.
Jack Lasky, Geisinger’s EMS coordinator, announced the renaming of Geisinger’s annual heroism award by presenting a plaque to the Walsh family. Alice and Bob Walsh helped found the Sweet Valley Ambulance Association and served the fire company for over 50 years. Both passed away in 2017 at age 84.
Mr. Ankenbrand and Mr. Thomas later threw the first pitch for the RailRiders game.
James “Sox” Ruane Award for Community Service
Jody Hutton, paramedic for Pocono Mountain Regional Emergency Medical Services, won for her compassionate community service. She assisted in the care of two elderly patients by fostering their dog for several weeks until they could return home.
This annual awards event is held during National Emergency Medical Services Week to honor the dedication of the people we count on each day to provide lifesaving services during emergencies.
“Geisinger’s ability to provide high-level care would not be possible without your outstanding work in the field and our close partnership with all of you, the first responders,” Scott Danowsky, EMS coordinator at Geisinger, told the more than 300 EMS professionals at the event.
Frank Bedosky, 72, of Berwick shared his personal story about this partnership literally saving lives – including his own.
Mr. Bedosky and his wife Joy were working in the yard in September 2017, when, "all of a sudden, I couldn’t say my words. Everything I was trying to say was garbled."
He fell into the grass, and his neighbor, Dr. David Kasputis, an anesthesiologist at Geisinger Medical Center, happened to be walking by with his dogs. Dr. Kasputis recognized Frank’s symptoms as those of a stroke and quickly called for help. In the ambulance traveling to Geisinger Medical Center, Mr. Bedosky said the emergency responders were in constant contact with vascular neurosurgeon Dr. Christoph Griessenauer and his team.
"They were ready and waiting when I got there," he said. “After two days in the hospital with a stroke, I’m fine. I'm back to being as normal as I can be. "
A full list of nominees and photo captions follow.
Nominees for the Alice and Bob Walsh Heroism Award are:
- Paramedics Joseph Chiumento, Christopher Chromey, and Michael May, along with EMTs Jaimie Merlino and Norman Ostrowski, all of Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance, who selflessly and without personal protective equipment at a fire rescued three children, including taking one to the hospital for care.
- Earl Culvey, paramedic, Danville Ambulance Service, who responded to a climbing accident that resulted in near amputation by facilitating a rope rescue and administering ALS analgesic to the patient while he was suspended from a rope.
- Officers William Hazelton and Eugene Ruddy, Throop Police Department, who performed CPR and used an AED to revive an unresponsive 50-year-old man who has since fully recovered from cardiac arrest.
- EMTs Patrick Judge and Missy Taramelli, of Dickson City Community Ambulance Association along with paramedics Bruce Beauvais and Joe Kadlubowski of Pennsylvania Ambulance and
- Officers Stacey Karabin, Anthony Mercado and Brandon Walters of the Dickson City Police Department, whose team effort resulted in the full resuscitation of a 39-year-old patient who is alive and with his family thanks to their efforts.
- EMTs Molly King and Bryanna Knecht, and paramedics Cory Sienkiewicz and Chris Turbessi, of Pennsylvania Ambulance, along with Chief Richard Janesko and Officers Jason Jarecki and Tom Jenkins of Moosic Police department, whose collective efforts and understanding of the cardiac “chain or survival” saved the life of a 48-year-old patient who was fully recovered and talking with staff when arriving at the hospital.
- Detective Greg Martin of Berwick Borough Police Department, who assisted the Columbia County Victim/Witness Program by collecting donations for the mother of a deceased child, as well as donating some of his own belongings, time and service to help the family.
- Christopher Turbessi, paramedic supervisor for Pennsylvania Ambulance, who received multiple nominations for utilizing 20 years of experience to find innovative ways to save lives, benefit the community, and support his co-workers and students.
- Lauren Vaicekauskas, EMT for Pennsylvania Ambulance, for being an outstanding team member and making everyone’s job easier during challenging situations.
Nominees for the James “Sox” Ruane Award for Community Service are:
- Larry Ace, Jr., paramedic, Trans Med Ambulance, and volunteer with several fire departments, who is always caring and willing to go the extra mile.
- Kathryn Bommer, Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse and Geisinger Trauma Outreach Coordinator, and Bob Getz, EMT, Factoryville Fire Co., who in just three months taught more than 1,100 students in five counties how to provide front-line care through the Stop the Bleed program.
- Matthew Crimi, dispatcher for Lackawanna County Department of Emergency Services, who volunteers for multiple ambulance companies, is an active member of Dickson City Fire Department, and still finds time to coach his children’s sports teams.
- Sue Harrigfeld, paramedic supervisor for Cottage Hose Ambulance Corps, for providing great care to stroke patients and providing excellent reports to the hospital care team.
- Joshua Kiddish, paramedic for Pennsylvania Ambulance, for outstanding bedside manner, knowledge of pre-hospital emergency medicine, and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
- Erin O’Malley, paramedic for Pennsylvania Ambulance, for her outstanding care of stroke patients and support of improving stroke patient care in the region.
- Kevin Rineheimer, Registered Nurse and clinical leader for Geisinger Community Medical Center’s Emergency Department and Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse for Pennsylvania Ambulance, who provides outstanding care and supports improved care for stroke patients.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.