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2011 EMS Awards Ceremony Photos

California emergency medical services providers and associates were recognized for exceptional acts of bravery and service to their communities and to the state at a luncheon ceremony in San Francisco December 7, 2011. Dr. Howard Backer, Director of the EMS Authority, and Commission Chair Colleen Kuhn, presented the 2011 EMS Awards.

The EMS Awards Committee reviews all applications submitted and determines which awards will be granted. This year, the committee consisted of:

The luncheon ceremony was hosted by the Emergency Medical Services Authority with support from the San Francisco Paramedic Association. Pro-Transport-1 generously sponsored lunch for all of the award recipients.In addition, Art Hseih representing the California Rescue and Paramedic Association, graciously served as our photographer for the event. Please ask for permission before using them in any published format (web or print) and be sure to credit Art with a photo by-line for his excellent work. Larger versions of the photos are available. Robin Robinson is the EMS Awards Coordinator for EMSA and can assist you in submitting nominations for future awards. Please contact her at 916-431-3701.

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Catherine L. Rucker – Novato, Coastal Valleys EMS

Catherine Rucker’s passion is getting automated external defibrillators into every school. She has testified before school district board meetings, attended conferences, and served as a delegate to the California State PTA . She is an active proponent of Senate Bill 63 which would encourage all schools in California to have an AED and has testified before legislative committees, sought support for the bill from organizations and individuals, and created a website to educate the public.

She has served as Health Officer for the California State PTA, 16th District, as a Convention Delegate for the California State PTA 20-11 Convention, as a member of the Novato Unified School District Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and as a member of the Marin County Office of Education Parents Disaster Advisory Council.

Catherine Rucker


Art Lathrop – Contra Costa, Contra Costa EMS

During his 46-year career, Art Lathrop’s contributions include serving as the Assistant Director of the Alameda County EMS Agency, and retiring as the Director of the Contra Costa Health Services Agency earlier this year. Art’s many accomplishments include implementation of the county-wide fire paramedic response and ambulance transportation systems, as well as the county’s trauma, STEMI, and disaster medical response systems. In addition, Art has been the Regional Disaster Medical Health Coordinator for Region 2 since the 1990s and was also instrumental in developing the federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Art Lathrop


William Koenig, MD – Los Angeles, Los Angeles County EMS Agency

This year, we are pleased to recognize Dr. William Koenig for his valuable contributions in EMS research, program development, advanced CPR, and end-of-life-care. He has also contributed his leadership and knowledge to the statewide EMS system as chair of the State Commission on EMS and as president of the Emergency Medical Directors Association of California.

William Koenig


Linda V. Anderson, RN – Sebastopol, Santa Rosa Junior College

For 17 years, Linda Anderson has been the program director and chief instructor of the Santa Rosa Junior College’s paramedic training program. She also taught courses including First Responder, EMT, emergency nursing courses and a variety of continuing education courses. She is a registered nurse with many years of experience as a flight nurse and in the emergency room.

Linda Anderson


Louis K. Meyer – Stockton, American Medical Response

As Senior Vice President for American Medical Response, Lou Meyer has been involved in just about every aspect of EMS throughout California for decades. He served as a member of the Commission on EMS for 18 years and held leadership positions as chair and vice chair during his tenure. This year, Lou retired from AMR and from the Commission. Lou’s efforts have contributed to developing California’s strong EMS system and have helped to ensure that residents and visitors are offered the highest quality EMS systems possible.

Louis Meyer


The Stanford Emergency Medicine International Team is the first recipient of the Team Award for EMS – International for their efforts in developing the first EMS service in Nepal. Between 2008 and 2011, the Stanford Emergency Medicine International Team made numerous trips to Kathmandu and worked with hospitals, government officials and community leaders to overcome administrative and regulatory hurdles and develop a comprehensive plan for the first EMS system in that country. They developed protocols and created and staffed the didactic and practice curriculum. The first class of 50 EMTs graduated in November 2010. The Nepal Ambulance Service was inaugurated in early 2011 with four new ambulances and a state of the art call center.

Dr. Paul Auerbach, who led the team, accepted the award on behalf of EMT David Amsalem, Dr. Alice Chiao, EMT Benjamin Kelley, Dr. Swaminatha Mahadevan, Dr. Uta Shimizu, Dr. Matthew Strehlow and Dr. Rebecca Walker

Paul Auerbach


Merle, Eric, Henry and Ethan Hall – Alamo

While on an outing under the Golden Gate Bridge, three generations of the Hall family were instrumental in saving a 16 year old female who had jumped from the bridge. The Halls kept the bloodied girl afloat in 53 degree water until professional rescuers arrived.

Brian Hudson – Escondido

Physical Education teacher Brian Hudson’s suggestion to purchase an AED as a gift to Rincon Middle School resulted in the life of an eighth grader being saved. A week before Christmas, a student collapsed due to sudden cardiac arrest. Brian could not attend the ceremony.



Debbie Moore – Escondido

School nurse Debbie Moore was instrumental in saving the life of an eighth grade student who collapsed in the school gym one week before Christmas in 2010. Debbie responded with the AED unit and saved the young man’s life.


Jessica Batz and Matt Wolfe – Chico, First Responder EMS

Walking to the parking lot after attending a family member’s graduation, off duty EMT Jessica Batz and Battalion Chief Matt Wolfe were alerted there was a man down. They assisted in performing CPR until the Paradise Fire Department arrived on scene.

Batz and Wolfe


Tony Giacomini – Woodacre, Marin County Fire

While playing tennis, Firefighter Paramedic Tony Giacomini’s opponent collapsed. Giacomini quickly reacted, performing CPR and defibrillation until the man regained his heartbeat. When crews arrived the man was transported to the hospital and has since recovered. A 16-year veteran with the Marin County Fire, Tony also assists in annual fund raising efforts that support community disaster preparedness.

Tony Giacomini


Randy Elder – Anaheim, Anaheim Fire

While off duty, Firefighter Paramedic Randy Elder was instrumental in saving the life of a neighbor in her 80’s from a house fire. Unable to gain access to the house after several attempts, he directed fire personnel to her location so that she could be removed safely. During the incident, Elder suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation and was transported to the hospital along with the victim. Both have since recovered.

Randy Elder


Maria Barairo – Oakland, City of Oakland Fire Department

Maria’s dream of being a firefighter was realized when she obtained her EMT-I in 2002. She also volunteers with the Berkeley Food and Housing Project where she serves food before and after 24 hour shifts. She was recently recognized by the Oakland FD and Alameda County EMS as the 2011 EMS Professional of the Year.

Maria Barairo


Marilyn Dioszeghy – Chico, First Responder EMS

An avid and dedicated teacher of the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support course, Marilyn taught CPR to 243 participants in 2010 alone. Her professionalism, knowledge, and friendly demeanor have resulted in businesses and individuals frequently requesting her teaching services.

Marilyn Dioszeghy


Debbi Rath – Windsor, AMR/Sonoma Life Support

An AMR paramedic since 1995, Debbi supported one of her own on February 26, 2004 when she was called to the scene and discovered the lifeless body of her youngest son Michael who was 19 at the time. Despite this tragedy, Debbi has been profiled in an award winning documentary and has traveled to Africa to work and live with local families to improve the lives of children. She is a member of MADD and a keynote speaker for the Every 15 Minutes Program.

Debbi Rath


Michael O’Grady and Forrest Uhland, both from AMR San Mateo County, were honored for performing a meritorious rescue in a dangerous environment on 9 September 2010 during the San Bruno gas line explosion. Without concern for their own safety, they participated in a house-to-house search for victims.

Uhland and O'Grady

Mark Leonard - Gualala, Mendocino County EMS

Paramedic Leonard was honored for his superior service providing EMS leadership in remote Mendocino County.

Mark Leonard


David Hernandez of San Jose, Ian Mikulas of Monterey, James Meikle of San Jose, Sean Link of San Jose and James (Seamus) O’Donnell of Albany are all paramedics from ProTransport-1. They were recognized for providing meritorious care of two a gunshot victims in a dangerous environment on 20 August 2011 when violence broke out following the “Battle of the Bay” football game.



Jennifer Mundy – Manteca, San Joaquin County EMS

Honored for providing superior EMS education in Tuolumne County for more than 20 years.

Mary Murphy – Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Santa Fe Fire Department

Recognized for providing superior EMS coordination, education, and leadership in San Diego County where she serves as the EMS nurse coordinator for five fire agencies in the Rancho Santa Fe Fire District.

Jodi Nevandro – Santa Monica, Santa Monica Fire Department.

Has provided superior EMS coordination, education, and leadership in Los Angeles County where she developed the EMS Leadership Academy and helped create the CalChiefs Nurse Educator Section.

Harrison Stewart – Chico, First Responder EMS

Honored for meritorious performance of a rescue in a hazardous environment involving two vehicles on fire and multiple victim extrications on 31 October 2010.

Scott Wood – Solano, Solano County EMS

Has provided superior EMS education and leadership for more than 15 years in Solano County.

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