Every day, paramedics are putting themselves in harm’s way in order to help others. However, it’s not every day that they receive provincial recognition for such bravery. That is what happened recently when not one but four Chatham-Kent EMS paramedics were recognized for their selfless dedication to patients both over the past year and throughout their careers.
During the Ontario Association of Paramedics conference gala on September 28th, Chatham-Kent paramedics Dave Desmaris and Ryan Willan received the McNally Award for their role in saving a patient involved in a farming accident, while Dave, Murray Dawson and Carolyn Ross were recognized with Emergency Services Exemplary Service Medals for their impressive careers as frontline paramedics.
The McNally Award was named in honour of Dr. Norman H. McNally, who many consider the “father” of the Ontario ambulance system, and is given to recognize conspicuous acts of bravery by paramedics in the performance of their duties. Dave and Ryan were honoured for their response to a patient who became pinned underneath a tractor while clearing tree stumps from his property. Shortly after the tractor rolled onto the driver, it burst into flames and quickly engulfed him. While bystanders attempted to help, Dave and Ryan worked to extinguish the flames and keep the patient calm until they could extricate him. From there, he was transported to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and then air-lifted to the Hamilton burn unit in critical condition.
Dave and colleagues Murray Dawson and Carolyn Ross were also recognized that same evening with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medals. The award, created in 1994 by late Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, recognizes professionals in the provision of pre-hospital emergency medical services to the public, who have performed their duties in an exemplary manner, characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency. Paramedics who qualify must have completed 20 years of exemplary service, including at least 10 years on street level or in air duty with potential risk to themselves.
Congratulations to Dave, Ryan, Murray and Carolyn – well deserved recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty!