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2013 EMS Award Recipients

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 4, 2013. Dr. Howard Backer, Director of the EMS Authority, and EMS Chair of the Commission, Jane Smith, presented the 2013 EMS Awards.

2013 EMS Awards Ceremony Program

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, American Medical Response, BoundTree Medical, Paramedics Plus, California Ambulance Association and California Fire Chiefs Association who generously sponsored lunch for all of the award recipients. In addition, Art Hsieh representing the California Rescue and Paramedic Association, graciously served as our photographer for the event. Please ask for permission before using event photographs 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 R 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.




Recognizes an EMS provider who, while in an off-duty or volunteer capacity, makes an extremely noteworthy contribution to efforts which result in the saving of a life.

Sean Diemert - Martinez, ProTransport-1, EMTWhile off duty on November 12, 2012, EMT Diemert witnessed an auto collision that resulted in the vehicle catching fire and rendering the driver unresponsive and injured. Diemert, with the assistance of two bystanders, sprang into action, pulling the driver from the burning vehicle. Diemert stabilized the patient until Contra Costa Fire responders arrived and the patient was resuscitated.




The Civilian Award recognizes a civilian (non-certified, non-health care provider) who provides extraordinary service during the course of an EMS emergency. Awards are relatively based upon the degree of patient outcome, extreme conditions, or extraordinary circumstances.

Albert Alvarez (Seaside, CA) is being honored for saving a victim’s life on April 10, 2013. Albert was on the scene when a 76 year-old man collapsed and was not breathing. He quickly administered CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene. Albert’s quick thinking and responsiveness played a tremendous part in saving the life of the patient.                                                                     


Erik Schorken (San Leandro, CA) is being honored for his heroic actions as part of a group of civilians who assisted in life-saving efforts to rescue a family on June 16, 2013. Erik made his way towards the drowning victims, used a knife to break the window open, and freed the family from the water-logged car. He assisted multiple members of the family swim back to shore.


Andrew Goodwin – San Leandro, CA
Goodwin is being honored for his heroic actions as part of a group of civilians who assisted in life-saving efforts to rescue a family on June 16, 2013.  He was in the water, alongside the paramedic, helping pull the victims out of the water as they started coming to shore. Andrew also escorted them to the ambulance.

Tracey McCormick – Alameda, CA
McCormick is being honored for her heroic actions as part of a group of civilians who assisted in life-saving efforts to rescue a family on June 16, 2013. As a car was slowly submerging into the water with a family of four inside, Tracey was the first to jump into the water and swim towards the family to break them free. With the assistance of other members of this heroic team, Tracey helped bring the family to shore.






Recognizes an individual for a meritorious act or service within EMS. This award also recognizes an EMT for an act that is above and beyond the call of duty in the course of a particular EMS emergency or event.


Dr. Marc Eckstein – Los Angeles, Los Angeles Fire Dept., Medical Director
Dr. Eckstein is being recognized for providing exceptional leadership and service to the Los Angeles medical community. Dr. Eckstein was influential in coordinating and providing medical oversight for implementation of the Los Angeles AED Public Access Program and continues to contribute to state and national pre-hospital policy formulation.

William "Bill" Caldera – Sonora, Toulumne County LEMSA, Operations Manager
Bill Caldera is being recognized for outstanding service and leadership during the Rim Fire on August 17, 2013. Recognizing the danger of the fire, Caldera instinctively directed his medics to evacuate Groveland residents, provide firefighter rehabilitation and verify credentials of responding volunteer personnel.

Jim Morrissey – San Leandro, Alameda County LEMSA, Supervising Prehospital Care Coordinator
Jim Morrissey is being recognized for 30 years of sustained, dedicated EMS service in the San Francisco area. Morrissey has taught classes in emergency medicine, tactical medicine, wilderness rescue and technical rope rescue in over 25 countries. A recognized subject matter expert, Morrissey advises the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and deploys with FBI SWAT Team members, providing medical care when necessary.

Rebecca Foster – San Leandro, Paramedics Plus, Paramedic
Rebecca Foster is being recognized for heroic action while participating in the rescue of a   family trapped in their sinking automobile on June 16, 2013. Placing herself in danger, Foster negotiated the rocky shore, entered water containing broken glass and gasoline, and pulled passengers from their sinking vehicle just before it submerged.


Michael Jacobs - San Leandro, Alameda County LEMSA, Cardiovascular Program Manager
Michael Jacobs is being recognized for outstanding efforts involving the improvement of cardiac arrest survivability in the hospital and pre-hospital setting. Jacobs worked with 13 ED Receiving Centers, over 1,000 EMS providers and the American Heart Association to develop cardiac arrest protocols which have dramatically increased patient survivability rates in Alameda County.





Recognizes an EMT who has made an outstanding commitment to non-patient care aspects of a community's EMS system. Special emphasis is on EMS Public Information, Education, and Relations. A maximum of ten Community Service Awards will be conferred in any one year.


Jym Bridger – El Cajon, Heartland Fire Rescue, Firefighter/Paramedic
With over 15 years of experience in EMS as a firefighter/paramedic with Heartland Fire Rescue and as a paramedic for AMR San Diego, Bridger is a consummate professional who embodies what a paramedic should be: committed and passionate. In his community, Bridger initiated a program that provided bicycle helmets to local children. He also participates in instruction and preceptorship for interns. Additionally, he chairs the annual October Stash charity drive which helps undeserved local children and he manages the AED program for San Diego.


Rich Porcelli – San Francisco, South San Francisco Fire Dept., EMS Division Captain
Each year, 795,000 strokes occur and approximately half of these victims do not call 9-1-1, resulting in poor rehabilitation outcomes.  In order to change these results, Rich Porcelli, an active member of the Pacific Stroke Association’s Annual Stroke Day, assisted in coordinating efforts with firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, doctors, nurses and other clinicians to distribute 11,000 stroke information cards at 20 BART and Cal Train stations in five counties on the morning of May 7, 2013.  This successful endeavor resulted in heightened public education and increased awareness and surpassed 2012’s outreach campaign.


Ennis Jackson – Carlsbad, AMR San Diego, Paramedic
Ennis Jackson has not let a personal tragedy prevent him from becoming a staunch advocate to teenagers by bringing his heartfelt and powerful message about how the perils of drugs, alcohol and distracted driving can result in disastrous outcomes.  After a terrible situation that resulted in the death of his 14 year old daughter, Jackson created “Call Me Before You Need 9-1-1.”  In 2012, Jackson spoke to more than 6,000 students and in the past 20 years he has shared his story with more than 400,000 students – and he performs these duties gratis.  Jackson has been an EMT-P for more than 21 years and has served as a Field Training Officer.

Walter Parton – Merced, Riggs Ambulance Service, EMT-P
Walter Parton has been with Riggs Ambulance for over 28 years and is one of the most recognized EMS professionals in his home town of Dos Palos. His career began in 1978 as an ambulance attendant volunteer while working for the Dos Palos Police Department and he quickly realized that residents preferred seeing him as an ambulance attendant at their door.  Parton is currently a field paramedic and the Community Liaison of West Merced County.  He attends all Dos Palos HS football games, fairs, parades and special events in his community as a stand by medic.  Parton was a recipient of the California Ambulance Association’s Star of Life Award in 2011.

Chana Alexander – Lancaster, American Medical Response, Paramedic
Hands-Only CPR which requires no mouth- to-mouth contact as standard resuscitation efforts have in the past has gained popularity in recent years.  In four months, Alexander trained over 1,000 residents of the Antelope Valley in this vital life-saving technique.  Once a week she volunteers at Poncitlan Square in Palmdale to teach this technique.  Alexander’s goal is to share this important information with every resident (well over 155,000 people) in the Antelope Valley.




Recognizes an individual for distinguished service or achievement affecting statewide EMS over an extended period of time.


Cathy Chidester– Santa Fe Springs, Los Angeles county EMS Agency, Director
Cathy Chidester is being honored for more than 30 years of dedicated and sustained EMS service demonstrating a strong passion for training, teamwork, patient advocacy, and statewide leadership. Since 2006 she has served as the Director, LA County EMS Agency and oversees the daily operations of the largest multi-jurisdictional EMS system in the nation.

Cynthia Frankel – San Leandro, Alameda County EMS Agency, Disaster & EMSC Coordinator
Cynthia Frankel is being honored for her superior sustained statewide leadership, advocacy, and education in improving EMS for Children. With over 23 years in the EMSC community, Frankel has facilitated annual EMSC state conferences and regional conferences for pediatric disaster preparedness and response. She is co-chair of the California Neonatal Pediatric Disaster Coalition and has supported multidisciplinary grass roots coalition building to support local preparedness of neonatal and pediatric disaster and medical surge linking novice to expert.

Dave Austin – Irwindale, AMR West, Director of Administration
Dave Austin is being honored for his superior sustained statewide EMS service. With more than 37 years of prehospital experience, Austin’s institutional knowledge and personal experience have proven invaluable during his service on numerous boards and commissions addressing local and state EMS public policy. Austin’s extensive committee and policy work have permitted him to quickly and effectively address complicated issues and generate consensus amongst stakeholders all while keeping the best interest of the patient in mind.


Christopher Van Gorder, FACHE – San Diego, Scripps Health, President & CEO
Christopher Van Gorder is being honored for his superior sustained statewide leadership as a member of the California Commission on EMS and for exceptional achievement and exemplary leadership in disaster medical response.  Van Gorder and the SCRIPPS team developed the premier specialized California Medical Assistance Team (CAL-MAT) and Hospital Administrative Support Unit (HASU) that serves as the model for health systems in California and the nation and provides the cornerstone for the State's Mobile Medical Assets Program.  Van Gorder was also on the original development team of the Hospital Incident Command System (HICS), of which is used nationally and internationally.




Honors an EMS educator who excels as a teacher or who has made a significant contribution to the EMS education program in the State. Active EMS educators or EMS training officers are eligible.

Les Hugie – Buellton, AMR Santa Barbara, Clinical Manager
Les Hugie is being honored for his tireless advocacy of EMS education, training and professionalism California. Hugie is committed to facilitating and participating in cooperative relationships amongst all prehospital agencies to provide education that fosters quality patient care for all of our communities. With his unique “Kudos Bar” motivational style and over 23 years of experience, Hugie was instrumental in educating and training Santa Barbara County paramedics on their new STEMI system and Hands Only CPR program.




Honors an EMT-I, EMT-II and EMT-Paramedic, each of whom is exemplary in his/her quality of patient care and/or dedication to their community. Any statewide certified EMT-I or EMT-II, and any licensed EMT-Paramedic is eligible.

Jeremiah Glass – Chico, Enloe Hospital/West Side Ambulance, Paramedic
Jeremiah Glass is being honored for his dedication to excellent patient care, compassion, public and professional service. Stemming from his devotion to public service, Glass has volunteered thousands of off-hours to underserved communities across the globe, declined pay raises and promotions out of concern for the state’s flagging economy, and has not had a sick day in over five years. Glass travelled to Honduras in 2011, serving as the team’s sole paramedic on a project converting a school into a health clinic.




Honors a physician licensed in California who serves or has served meritoriously as an EMS physician supervisor or as an on-line medical control physician and who has made a special contribution through such activities as systems development, continuing education, quality assurance, medical community liaison, etc.

Karl Sporer – Alameda County EMS Agency, Medical Director
Dr. Sporer is honored for his passion, leadership and knowledge exemplified in his current role as Medical Director of Alameda County EMS Agency. Using his near three decades of experience, Dr. Sporer has effectively implemented cutting edge technology and current QA/QI best practices in Alameda County, to include the addition of a Medical Priority Dispatch System, Electronic Patient Care Record System and Chest Compression Systems. Most recently he has worked to develop cervical spine restriction guidelines with the goal of decreasing the use of the traditional cervical collar and hard board.




Honors an EMS system administrator who has distinguished him or her self through noteworthy contribution to a local, regional, or to the statewide EMS system. Local EMS administrators (supervisory operations, planning, or management personnel) in California are eligible.


Ross Elliot – Bakersfield, Kern County EMS Agency, Director
Ross Elliott is being honored for his efforts in leveraging technology to allow more EMS Administrators to participate in statewide meetings when travel budgets were being slashed and for his experience in emergency management, preparedness and strategic planning. A respected member of EMSAAC, Elliott has over 10 years of experience as an EMS Administrator as well as experience as a seasonal firefighter, city planner, senior deputy county administrator and director of information technology.




Recognizes an EMT who provides noteworthy patient care and treatment during the course of their duties.

Doug Butler (Santa Rosa)

Romeo Pardilla (Stockton)

Bull Bullard (Forestville)

Jeremy Janes (Santa Rosa)

Kyler Walker (Graton)

Shepley Schroth-Cary (Sebastopol)

Diane Mibach (Corte Madera)

Paul Flecksenstein (Guerneville)

Michael Hunt (Rohnert Park)

Marcos Barros (Santa Rosa)

Jacob Sheffer (Santa Rosa)

Brian Trotter (Vacaville)

Jared Eckle (Oakdale)

Robert Shelp (Oakdale)

Jesus Sigala (Modesto)

Mike Satariano (Riverbank)

Jeremy Smith (Riverbank)

Doug Falle (Riverbank)

Kyle Ramirez (Milpitas)

William Hiller (Milpitas)

Sadie Eirich (Merced)

Eduardo Salazar (Sacramento)

Anthony Lawrence (San Francisco)

Josh Menzies (Santa Rosa)

Elias Nasser (San Bruno)

Vinh Nguyen (Merced)

Conrad Arenas (San Francisco)

Scot Daniels (San Rafael)

Brian White (Bakersfield)

Kent Frazier (Bakersfield)

Brian McChristian (Bakersfield)

Shawn Crocker (Bakersfield)

Sam Fyles (San Francisco)

Nolan Hamblen (Berkeley)

Christopher Kopitzke (Berkeley)

Jonathan Knauf (Escondido)

Chiyon Speakman (Vallejo)

Markus Lincoln (Vallejo)

Michael Spath (Sunnyvale)

Nichole Spencer (San Leandro)

Cody Haney (Newport Beach)


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