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First responders honored for lifesaving care

MOOSIC, Pa. – First responders from Dushore and Berwick were honored for excellence and courage in providing lifesaving care to their communities during Geisinger’s 15th annual EMS Provider of the Year Awards reception held Friday, June 7, at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders’ PNC Field. 

“National Emergency Medical Services Week was held at the end of May to honor the dedication of the people we count on each day to provide lifesaving services during emergencies,” said Scott Danowsky, EMS coordinator for Geisinger’s Life Flight program. “You are such an important group, and I am excited to be part of another special evening, where we celebrate your commitment to caring for your community and people in need.”

EMS coordinator for Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center’s (GWV) emergency department Jack Lasky opened the evening by presenting the first-ever EMS award for Outstanding Patient Care to Dushore Fire/EMS. Accepting on behalf of the department were Chris Kelley, Chrystal McCusker, Daniel McCusker and Daniel Moyer. 

Based on reports, the crew requested Life Flight services prior to arriving on the scene. Once there, they found the patient in an altered level of consciousness with serious bleeding from the neck. They applied a towel and direct pressure, then packed the wound, and subsequently placed a non-vented chest seal over the wound, all within an eight-minute on-scene time.

Director of Geisinger EMS David Schoenwetter, D.O., announced the nominees and winners of the James “Sox” Ruane Award for Community Service and the Alice and Bob Walsh Heroism Award. 

“Our awards ceremony this evening recognizes individuals whom we feel embody the spirit of selfless service,” Schoenwetter said. “Our honorees were nominated by friends, family, co-workers and their peers. But you are all heroes, and I want to thank you all for coming tonight and for all the great work you do.”

James “Sox” Ruane Award for Community Service
Berwick resident Chuck Humphrey, Geisinger EMS, has selflessly dedicated more than 30 years of community service as an EMT with the Berwick Area Ambulance Association, where he was a 12-year president and 20-year board member.

Alice and Bob Walsh Heroism Award
Berwick resident, police officer and EMT Christopher Kelchner, Berwick Police Department, found an unresponsive, pulseless man while off duty and on vacation with his family. He performed CPR and provided care until EMS arrived and took the man to the hospital, where he was later discharged. 

Award winners threw out ceremonial first pitches before the beginning of the Railriders’ game against the Syracuse Mets. 

A full list of nominees and photo captions follow.


Humphrey’s fellow nominees for the Ruane Award were:

  • Margaret “Peggy” Austin, RN, Trans Med first responder and Geisinger Trauma Coordinator, who can always be found in the community providing care and education, including first aid, CPR, Stop the Bleed, Prom Promise, and Healthy Steps Fall Prevention.
  • Kathryn Bommer, EMT with Factoryville Fire Company Station 9, Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse and Geisinger Trauma Outreach Coordinator, who passionately provides trauma education, performs trauma service, responds to ambulance calls and volunteers to support her community. 
  • Robert Carpenter, EMS of Northeastern Pennsylvania paramedic, who serves as regional EMS coordinator, teaches the next generation of first responders and is always willing to help.
  • Brandon Coletti, Deputy EMS chief with Back Mountain Regional, who mentors a group of college students and helps them become firefighters and EMTs, which gives the students great opportunities and helps to ensure the future success of local EMS and fire companies.
  • Jonathan Headman Sr., Assistant Fire Chief and EMT with Noxen Fire and EMS, whose passion for his work has led his three children to also serve the community as first responders.
  • Melissa Hemmler, EMT, Chems/Chinchilla Hose Co., who always goes above and beyond for her patients and community, including securing resources her patients may need after their hospital stays.
  • Katie Martin, a national registry paramedic with Medic 9 and Pittston Township 566, who finds time to work, volunteer within the community, and lead a large fundraising drive for Pittston Township EMS. 
  • Nicole Price, EMT, Hamlin Fire and Rescue, who has been a first responder for more than 20 years, serving her community as a dedicated leader, fundraiser and volunteer.
    John Zaruta, Pennsylvania Ambulance Paramedic, who defines professionalism by always exhibiting a great work ethic and giving the best possible care to his patients. 

Kelchner’s fellow nominees for the Walsh Award were:

  • Theresa Balkunas, Mary McGrail, Doctor Scott Rieder and Terrance Wallace, who assisted a motorist who crashed while having a cardiac arrest. They responded, performed CPR and successfully resuscitated the driver.
  • Officer Samuel DeSimone, City of Pittston, who arrived on scene before EMS and provided care to a gunshot victim that ultimately saved the victim’s life.
  • Chris Kelley, Mildred Fire Company and Dushore Fire/EMS, who answers calls day and night, and always makes the safety and welfare of people and animals his top priority.
  • Brad Killian, a Wyoming County 911 dispatcher with 35 years of experience, who has helped to train the 911 Center’s entire staff and saved countless lives in the process.
  • Matt Kurtz, Geisinger EMS, who regularly goes above and beyond to care for his patients, embodies the all good in the field of EMS.
  • Jamie Souder, Trans Med Ambulance, whose outstanding skills recently saved a cardiac arrest patient as well as a co-worker with severe bradycardia.
  • James Patrick Trowbridge, a Wyoming County 911 dispatcher and new EMT with Meshoppen Fire Company, who responded to an infant CPR call and demonstrated skills on par with seasoned professionals.

 

About Geisinger
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

EMS Award Recipients
From left, Geisinger EMS Director David Schoenwetter, D.O., and EMS Coordinator Jack Lasky present the EMS award for Outstanding Patient Care to Chrystal McCusker and Daniel McCusker of Dushore Fire/EMS Friday during the EMS Provider of the Year Awards reception at PNC Field in Moosic. Geisinger EMS Coordinator Scott Danowsky, right, also presented the award. 
EMS Award Recipients
Chuck Humphrey, third from left, receives the James “Sox” Ruane Award for Community Service. Humphrey dedicated 30 years as an EMT with the Berwick Area Ambulance Association. 
EMS Award Recipients
Berwick police officer and EMT Christopher Kelchner, second from left, receives the Alice and Bob Walsh Award for Heroism for his actions in reviving a pulseless, unresponsive man while off duty and on vacation with his family.

For media inquires:

Marc Stempka
Media Specialist
Marketing & Communications

570-214-3091
mstempka@geisinger.edu