2020 California EMS Awards

Brave. Dedicated. Willing. Reliable. These words describe the 80,000 licensed or certified EMS providers in California. They demonstrate these qualities every day by coming to the aid of others when they are most in need and working to ensure that the EMS system operates well. However, each year, due to circumstance or extraordinary effort, certain individuals among us shine.

The EMS Authority seeks to recognize those individuals through the California Emergency Medical Services Awards Program. The awards program honors special accomplishments, meritorious and heroic acts, innovations or fresh ideas to improve EMS in the state, or other unique and/or significant contributions by EMS personnel, physicians, nurses, EMTs, other medical providers, local officials, members of the law enforcement community, citizens, and first responders.

The California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) is pleased to announce California EMS Awards recipients for the year 2020. Thirty-eight (38) outstanding individuals will be honored for their heroic acts and extraordinary contributions to EMS during an online, virtual awards ceremony scheduled for early July 2021.



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. Nominations may be made by anyone.

Troy Keenan – Chico – Enloe Medical Center-Flight Care

For his dedication, selflessness, and impressive leadership skills while consistently providing his community with exemplary emergency care. As a Flight Paramedic with Enloe Medical Center Troy Keenan continuously invests time and effort into educating himself and providing noteworthy care. Always setting an example by exceeding the standard, Keenan worked extra shifts to help his community during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as previous wildfires.


Honors an EMS educator who excels as a teacher or who has made a significant contribution to the EMS education program in the State.

Ed Vodrazka – Del Mar – California State Parks / San Diego Miramar College

For his dedication to educating and preparing tomorrow’s EMS professionals for over four decades. As a lifeguard, nurse, EMT, and teacher Ed Vodrazka is an inspiration to learners who have dedicated themselves to serving others. In his role as an EMS educator with California State Parks, Vodrazka has been a core member of the Lifeguard Instructor staff for 25 years, teaching over 1,000 ocean lifeguards.


Honors a physician who serves or has served the EMS system by providing medical direction, on-line or off-line, and who has served with distinction. 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.

Hernando Garzon – Sacramento – Sacramento County EMS Agency

For his tireless efforts and selfless leadership during the COVID-19 response. Through a long career in disaster response Dr. Hernando Garzon learned how to best respond to, organize a systematic approach to, and efficiently mitigate a large-scale incident. Dr. Garzon assisted the state by building models and predictive theories about the pandemic, enabling local and statewide leaders to be better prepared to respond to the approaching “storm” of patients. He continued leading one of the largest EMS systems in the state, guiding the development of an “Emerging Infectious Disease” policy that provided direction and clarity to the greater EMS community about a sensible approach to preventing transmission of the COVID virus, mitigating the spread of the disease among the workforce, and safe return to work guidelines.


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.

Kristin Weivoda – Woodland – Yolo County EMS Agency

For innovative achievements and extraordinary contributions to the EMS system. Kristin Weivoda has been a nationally registered paramedic for nearly 20 years. She has taught in EMS education for 14 years, and in 2013 became the EMS Administrator for Yolo County where she also oversees Emergency Preparedness and Mass Care/Sheltering. Some of Weivoda’s notable contributions include helping improve legislation, preserving county Emergency Medical Services authority, protecting patients and working tirelessly to bring counties together on contentious issues, including COVID-19 data gathering and policy issues with other public safety agencies. Kristin was tasked by Yolo County to create their own county EMS agency and system, which is one of her biggest career accomplishments


Recognizes an individual for distinguished service or achievement affecting statewide EMS over an extended period of time. A maximum of ten Distinguished Service Medals will be awarded in any one year.

Charles Drehsen – Moorpark – AMR Ventura County

For decades of professional service and immeasurable contributions to the EMS industry. Dr. Charles Drehsen began working as the first Board Certified emergency medical physician in Ventura County in 1981. Knowing how important paramedics could be in an EMS system, he worked hard to bring paramedics to Ventura County. Working with peers from other hospitals and other ambulance companies in the region, he formed a committee to study the feasibility of a paramedic program in the county. While serving as Medical Director for Care Line Ambulance Service, Dr. Drehsen contributed to the success of several innovations in the EMS industry, including the development of two incredibly successful Community Paramedicine Programs in Ventura and the development of a new Cardiac Arrest Management system that resulted in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties having some of the best cardiac arrest survival rates in the nation.

Mark Hartwig – Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara County Fire

For over 10 years of exemplary leadership in healthcare for the citizens of California. Chief Mark Hartwig has been a model leader in the EMS field for decades, advocating for the citizens of the state and the public servants that serve them. Having been described as an invaluable asset and an effective leader Hartwig is the current fire chief of Santa Barbara County. He had been fire chief at the San Bernardino County Fire Department from 2011 to 2019 and he served as deputy fire chief at the Rancho Cucamonga Fire District from 2007 to 2011, where he was battalion chief from 2005 to 2007. Hartwig served in several positions at the San Bernardino County Fire Department from 1992 to 2005, including fire captain, apparatus engineer and training and safety officer. He is chair of the California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and legislative director at the California Fire Chiefs Association, where he serves as president of the Emergency Medical Services Section.

Christopher Heiser – Poway – San Diego Fire-Rescue Department

For over 50 years of service to the medical field as an innovator and a leader in EMS. Chief Christopher Heiser is a paramedic and registered nurse who began his career in the United States Army in 1968 as a Special Operations Medic. Heiser operated as a medical liaison to the United States Secret Service, contributed to many EMS studies in the 1980s and 1990s, developed military and non-military tactical EMS education material, and led multiple community task forces related to active shooter and weapons of mass destruction response. He is the Incident Commander to the City of San Diego’s “Operation Shelter to Home,” under which the city’s homeless population has been sheltered at the San Diego Convention Center, with wrap-around services, to prevent death and illness among unhoused individuals.

Clayton Kazan – Monterey Park – Los Angeles County Fire Department

For his dedication to the EMS community for more than 25 years and his hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Clayton Kazan has guided the EMS industry during a very uncertain time and helped train EMS personnel in a way that gave them direction and confidence in a time when answers were hard to come by. He provided guidance and science-backed facts to pre-hospital personnel, ensuring they were educated. As a dedicated professional, Dr. Kazan has improved the patient experience through the implementation of new programs. As the Medical Director of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Dr. Kazan has taken the department in a direction beneficial to its customers and provided a new concept of medical assistance to paramedics.

William Mulkerin – Palo Alto – Stanford University School of Medicine

For his commitment and dedication as primary medical advisor for South Santa Clara County Fire District and the Morgan Hill Fire Department. With dedicated commitment Dr. William Mulkerin is heavily involved in training firefighters in the necessary county policies, new procedures, and medications. Dr. Mulkerin also commits himself to reoccurring training including infrequent skills for both paramedics and EMTs and assists local fire agencies with trauma classes and active assailant training. During an active assailant event Dr. Mulkerin assisted and advised the Incident Commanders as they worked through the strategy and tactics of the incident. During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Mulkerin was always available to provide guidance for best PPE practices and updated information regarding changes to protocols and policies. The training and education that he provides has been a valuable resource to fire department members and his dedication to excellence motivates the department to provide the best prehospital service.

Karen Wright – Martinez – American Medical Response Contra Costa

For more than thirty-three years of positive leadership and selfless service within the EMS industry. As a Field Training Officer, Karen Wright has trained countless newly hired paramedics, and has provided critical support to our clinical education department by instructing field crews during quarterly training sessions. Wright contributes to the success of AMR as an Acting Operations Supervisor for three divisions and a member of its Critical Incident Stress Management team. Selflessly serving as a member of a system status committee which helps identify areas of sustainment and improvement, Wright contributes to a more robust and efficient 911 ambulance system. Deployed as an Ambulance Strike Team leader, her actions and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic have helped medical crews care for patients.


Recognizes a uniformed EMT who by act and deed represents the most outstanding achievement or accomplishment in EMS over an extended period of time. This is the highest award that can be conferred in the absence of extreme conditions and extraordinary circumstances.

Nicole Scott – Novato – Marin County EMS-Novato Fire Protection District

For her dedication, leadership, and innovative thinking to address the behavioral health of firefighters. Firefighter and paramedic Nicole Scott is dedicated to the community she serves and provides high level care to all patients. As Novato Fire Department’s 2017 Employee of the Year, Scott genuinely cares about the health and safety of all our firefighters and actively seeks new and innovative ways to share what she has learned with colleagues. Scott has found local and regional, qualified and competent counselors and resources and connected those resources to fellow firefighters in beneficial and meaningful ways. Selected by the Northern California Fire Chiefs Association to participate on the Behavioral Health Task Force, Scott has taken many hours of training, and has now become one of the leading voices in the State for peer support.

Mark Selapack – San Diego – American Medical Response – City of San Diego

For 20 years of leadership within EMS and his professionalism and outstanding performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Paramedic with American Medical Response in San Diego, Mark Selapack is also a Field Training Officer and Preceptor training to become an Associate Supervisor. Throughout the pandemic Selapack has been working on the front-line in high-risk settings and has been deployed multiple times since the onset when things were still unknown. Selapack became one of the first health care providers in the region to handle COVID-19 cases among evacuees quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Selapack played a vital role assisting with providing briefings to the fire department, police department, and all incoming ambulances. Since then, he’s handled coronavirus surges at skilled nursing facilities and stabilized and transported countless patients.

Kristin Thompson – Newport Beach – Newport Beach Fire Department

For over 14 years of leadership and innovative thinking within the EMS industry. Chief Kristin Thompson joined Anaheim Fire & Rescue in 2007 as a part-time nurse educator and in 2015 was promoted to emergency medical services education manager. As Chief of the Newport Beach Fire Department EMS Division in partnership with Counseling Team International, Chief Thompson hosts a “Significant Other Survival” (SOS) workshop focusing on “fire family” wellness and challenges affecting the firefighters and their close relationships. During the pandemic, Chief Thompson has brought positive change to her department by implementing a weekly COVID-19 meeting. This meeting has been a vital resource for gathering information on this everchanging pandemic and the response to it. Additionally, Chief Thompson’s tireless efforts on the subject of first responder wellness have been a major positive to the EMS industry.


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.

Kevin Anderson – Sacramento – American Medical Response

For his hard work and selfless dedication throughout the COVID-19 response. Paramedic Kevin Anderson has worked in the Sacramento County area for over 25 years. On top of his duties as a paramedic and paramedic supervisor at home, Anderson provided leadership while serving in key roles as the State responded to some of the largest EMS events ever. Anderson deployed to the Port of Oakland at the arrival of the Grand Princess Cruise ship serving as leadership overhead and Staging Officer. He traveled to New Jersey during the second major COVID-19 surge to support the state’s EMS and patient care systems during a time of extreme, urgent need. Upon returning to California, Anderson deployed to support the state’s wildfire missions, serving in lead ambulance strike teams roles in support of the CZU Complex Fire, Napa Fire, and August Complex Fire.

John Chu – San Jose – Royal Ambulance
Zachary Jimenez – Alameda – Royal Ambulance
Amri Pascual – Pleasanton – Royal Ambulance
Gina Piazza – Cotati – Royal Ambulance

For their outstanding work ethic and dedication to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing the critical need for more assistance in skilled nursing facilities, Royal Ambulance started “Project Helping Hands” to send their EMTs to alleviate the staffing shortages caused by EMS personnel becoming ill. EMTs John Chu, Zachary Jimenez, Amri Pascual, and Gina Piazza jumped right in and helped from beginning to end, working day and night. Piazza researched the expectations of the crews and what jobs they would be performing while on site to create training content for the entire field team. Pascual took it upon herself to build a team of EMTs and coordinated care across the many facilities in the Bay Area that were in need of support. Both Chu and Jimenez put in more than 1,000 hours and thought of ways to help the facilities create new processes that would keep their residents safe. The two EMTs made lasting impressions on the patients and formed strong connections with the staff as well.

Scott Hatcher – Davis – UC Davis Fire Department

For his hard work and excellence in service to his community during the COVID-19 vaccination response. At the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), administrators needed vaccinators to meet the need of vaccinating faculty, students, and EMS and medical personnel in mass numbers. A UC Davis alumnus, Captain Scott Hatcher created UC Davis’ Student EMT program, providing real world experience to college students in pre-hospital care. Going above and beyond the call of duty, Hatcher responded with tremendous effort organizing vaccinators and playing an integral role in the development of the vaccination clinic itself. His plan created amazing results, with student firefighters, student EMTs, and 27 of 59 fire employees becoming vaccinators, all administering over 5,000 vaccines at the site.

Christopher Herring – El Centro – Imperial County EMS Agency

For extraordinary dedication, engagement, and leadership during COVID-19 surges in Imperial County. As EMS Manager and Public Health Manager for Imperial County, Christopher Herring has provided constant oversight and leadership that was crucial to the EMS and county response. Herring coordinated resources and managed staffing distribution and public health information disbursement. A few of the initiatives Herring completed include PPE distribution, Alternate Care Site creation, and vaccination clinic training and coordination. Instrumental in coordinating Strike Team ambulances, Herring continues to be a thriving force in the distribution, implementation, and mitigation of vaccinations throughout heavily impacted Imperial County.

Eric Jarvis – Stockton – San Joaquin County EMS Agency

For his professionalism and quick actions which helped de-escalate a stressful and possibly dangerous situation. Eric Jarvis was at the scene when Lodi Police Department tried to convince a patient under the influence of a controlled substance to let go of her children and go to the hospital. Jarvis gained the trust of the patient and was able to take the small children from them. Jarvis maintained custody of the children while officers found other family members to come get the children. The Lodi police sergeant was impressed with Jarvis’s willingness to go above and beyond his job description to help in the situation.

Travis Kusman – South San Francisco – San Mateo County EMS Agency

For innovative achievements and extraordinary contributions to the EMS system. At the local level, Travis Kusman is San Mateo County’s EMS Director. At the Statewide EMS system level, he is currently the President of EMSAAC, serving as its Disaster Committee Chair and a representative to the California Department of Public Health and Emergency Medical Services Authority’s Joint Advisory Committee on Health Emergency Preparedness, and also the California Public Health and Medical Emergency Operations Manual (EOM) work group. A few of the successful initiatives implemented under Kusman’s leadership include the San Mateo County Health Care Site Outreach Support Team (CSOST) created early in the COVID-19 pandemic to best serve vulnerable individuals’ medical/health needs, the successful establishment of Setan Hospital as a State asset for the receipt and care of critically ill COVID-19 patients during the outbreak at San Quentin State Prison and also the early development and operationalization of two mass vaccination sites within San Mateo County.

Geoffrey Martin – Martinez – Contra Costa County Health Services EMS

For his dedication, flexibility, and expertise during the Contra Costa County COVID-19 response. Paramedic and Prehospital Coordinator Geoffrey Martin forged new paths to serve the needs of the State during this time of challenge and need. Responding with creative innovation he provided essential information for the Division, County, and State decision makers. Martin created databases and taught staff how to use the data. Martin chaired recurring meetings, which provided a structure for regular communication. Martin set up barriers to help keep all in-office staff protected and distanced from each other and made sure remote staff had equipment needed to work. Martin also created a database which identifies the medical supplies for disasters, and he helped deliver PPE to skilled nursing facilities in need. The county health department and individual doctors remained informed and all staff stayed safe, and connected thanks to Martin’s hard work.

Ted Selby – Vallejo – Solano County EMS Agency

For outstanding accomplishments and extraordinary leadership as the EMS Administrator of Solano County. Focused on a better future, Ted Selby’s dedication and hard work made Solano County a leader in pre-hospital and hospital care in just ten years. Selby was a major facilitator in applying for and maintaining Medic Ambulance’s Community Paramedic Program. Solano County was on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since January 2020 when the first planes containing COVID-positive travelers arrived at Travis Air Force Base from China. Selby spearheaded EMS response with all the cooperating state, local, and federal agencies, and collaborated with providers in disaster response and readiness. Selby is currently creating a process for stroke designation and receiving centers, committed to ensuring Solano County residents receive the highest quality care.

Jeffrey Shultz – Moorpark – AMR Ventura County

For over 18 years of leadership within the EMS community and his guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Paramedic Jeffrey Shultz currently serves as Administrative Supervisor for American Medical Response and Gold Coast Ambulance in Ventura County. He has been an integral part of the leadership team through significant, historic events such as the Thomas Fire, the Borderline Shooting, the Woolsey Fire, Hill Fire, and many more. Always willing to take on extra tasks to ensure the mission of the organization is accomplished, Shultz quickly implemented a plan to provide staffing for County of Ventura COVID testing sites. He hired and trained dozens of EMTs who have, in-turn, facilitated hundreds of thousands of COVID tests. In addition to managing several COVID testing sites throughout the County, Shultz was also responsible for tracking and managing PPE supply for Ventura County which posed a significant challenge early on during the pandemic. He was able to determine daily burn rates and develop partnerships that ensured the community had the supplies it needed. Shultz consistently displayed professionalism and flexibility throughout these challenging times.

Lisa Vajgrt-Smith – Richmond – Contra Costa EMS

For her hard work, dedication and management of Medical Reserve Corps volunteers during the COVID-19 response. Since 2013, Lisa Vajgrt-Smith has managed the day-to-day operations, activities, and administration of the 200 volunteers of the Contra Costa County MRC. Always available to her volunteers, Vajgrt-Smith not only recruits and trains them but mentors them in order to build their resiliency and leadership. In 2020, she developed a Congregate Care Training Team of primarily nurses who visit congregate care facilities to assess needs of staff and train members in proper use of personal protective equipment and infection prevention. Under her leadership, her staff trained more than 275 staff members, in over 29 facilities and assisted training paramedics in proper vaccine administration. The Contra Costa County MRC program has been
successful largely due to her steadfast commitment and leadership.


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.

Robert Statham – Adelanto – American Medical Response-Redlands
Maryann Taylor – Murrieta – American Medical Response-Redlands

For heroic lifesaving efforts that helped free trapped occupants after a vehicle collision. Robert Statham and Maryann Taylor rescued the passengers of a vehicle collision while their car was flipped onto its side and rapidly filling up with water from a fire hydrant sheared because of the collision. Selflessly, the crew responded to the scene, risking their lives in the process of rescuing the family. Statham and Taylor quickly broke the windshield of the vehicle, pulling the woman and her small children to safety. The family was thankfully uninjured and incredibly grateful for the crew’s efforts.


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.

Christian Martgan – Highland – American Medical Response-Redlands
Francesca Williams – Moreno Valley – American Medical Response-Redlands

For saving the life of a young boy when responding to the scene of a pediatric full arrest. Christian Martgan and Francesca Williams discovered a fifteen-month-old boy had accidentally fallen into a koi pond. They immediately took over life-saving resuscitation efforts, exhibiting calm and professionalism throughout the 14 minutes from their arrival on scene to their arrival at the hospital. Their teamwork and speed were paramount in saving the young boys life.


Recognizes outstanding heroism, extraordinary service, or achievement of non-EMTs (police officers, firefighters, lifeguards, dispatchers, and other public or private safety officers) for outstanding or exceptional support of a particular EMS emergency, event or operation.

Marisa Chung – San Francisco – San Francisco Police Department

For responding to a shooting of two victims with life-threatening injuries. San Francisco Police Officer Marisa Chung found and began caring for the first patient having applied a tourniquet above the wounds, properly and appropriately. This action alone resulted in stopping the bleeding that would have very likely resulted in the death of the patient, and it certainly prevented the patient from going into further shock. Officer Chung employed her prior training and experience as an EMT, and went above and beyond the call of duty at risk to her own health, and set aside the chaos of the situation to employ simple, yet effective emergency medical care to the trauma patient, resulting in the saving of that person’s life.

Jesse Lopez, Richard Valadez, John Yoshida – Hawthorne – Hawthorne Police Department

For their heroic efforts, great communication and teamwork to assist a five-year-old patient who possibly drowned. EMT John Yoshida, Officers Jesse Lopez and Richard Valadez noticed a frantic crowd of people at the hotel pool. Immediately realizing a child, pulseless with intermittent breathing was in need of aid, the officers began CPR. Officer Yoshida administered high quality chest compressions while Officer Lopez retrieved the AED from his medical bag and Officer Valadez obtained the mask valve and began rescue breathing for the patient. The officers performed life-saving measures for a total of three minutes before the Los Angeles County Fire Department arrived on scene and relieved them. Shortly after the fire department arrived the child began to breath and regurgitated the water she had in her lungs. The firefighters and paramedics thanked all three officers for their quick response.

Bearet Luttenbacher, Samantha Naghaway, John Yoshida – Hawthorne – Hawthorne Police Department

For heroic and life-saving actions responding to a female patient who had been shot. Officers Bearet Luttenbacher, Samantha Naghaway, and John Yoshida arrived at a scene where shots were fired and a female was lying on the sidewalk. Officer Naghaway noticed large amounts of blood saturating the victim’s clothes and surrounding her body. Officer Luttenbacher applied a tourniquet tightly to the victim’s left upper thigh, where she had sustained a gunshot wound, effectively stopping the life-threatening bleed. Luttenbacher and Yoshida were able to determine that the loss of blood was in fact the result of the wound to the victim’s left thigh, which had been successfully stopped by the tourniquet application by Officer Luttenbacher. Due to the victim’s severe loss of blood and the fact she was now in and out of consciousness, she was rushed to a local trauma center for definitive care. The patient was found to have sustained damage to her femoral artery, which needed immediate surgical intervention for repair. Within minutes of arriving on scene, these officers were able to take life-saving action that prevented further blood loss.


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.

Melissa Leonelly – Santa Rosa – AMR-Sonoma Life Support

For incredible leadership and commitment to her community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa Leonelly managed and staffed a county COVID testing site with the Sonoma County Health Department. Working with passion and pride, Leonelly created a robust system able to test thousands of community members, EMS and healthcare workers. Because of her involvement, the project has successfully helped the county accomplish widespread testing availability.


Recognizes a civilian (non-certified, non-health care provider) who provides extraordinary service during the course of an EMS emergency.

Jonathan Halkum – Coalinga – Department of State Hospitals-Coalinga

For quickly responding and immediately beginning life-saving CPR. At a family gathering on July 4th, DSH-Coalinga Hospital Police Officer Jonathan Halkum saw the signs in his three-year-old nephew of lack of oxygen flow and jumped in the pool. He had a family member call 911, set his nephew on the edge of the pool and performed three rounds of CPR on his 3-year-old nephew. Officer Halkum, along with his Brother-in-Law who was a Registered Nurse, assisted in completing approximately three cycles of giving compressions with breaths, when his nephew began coughing up water. He placed his nephew in the recovery position until his nephew started to cry and a few minutes later the ambulance arrived at the scene. His presence and actions helped keep other family members calm during this crisis. In recognition of his heroism, he was presented with the Office of Protective Services’ Life Saving Medal at a recognition ceremony held in the officer’s honor.


Recognizes an EMT who provides noteworthy patient care and treatment during the course of their duties. *Clinical Excellence Awards are presented at the recipients’ home stations, not at the EMS Awards Ceremony.

Scott Perryman – Mather – Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District

For his hard work and dedication establishing broad-based COVID-19 testing. Fire Captain Scott Perryman assisted the county with COVID testing in nursing homes and assisted living settings. Captain Perryman conceptualized the process, built five fully staffed teams, made contacts with the county department of public health to run the swab tests, and developed a mechanism to communicate results to the facilities. As the pandemic continued to evolve, he built a system to perform surveillance testing among the five fire agencies in the county (over 2,000 firefighters). Perryman’s teams have performed more than 20,0000 swab tests and are now becoming a resource to administer vaccines.

Marlanea Richardson – Concord – American Medical Response-Contra Costa

For her exemplary leadership and dedication to her profession and patients. Marlanea Richardson is a problem solver always seeking to do the right thing. She spends her time and effort supporting new paramedics in their education and helping give them confidence in their skills. Known for always putting patient care ahead of her own needs, Richardson is described as often going above and beyond to render care, to the benefit of the patient. Richardson’s dedication to her patients and commitment to seeking excellence in herself are continuous positive influences for many within and outside of the EMS industry.


*Certificates of Commendations are presented at the recipients’ home stations, not at the EMS Awards Ceremony.

Susan Arredondo – Pacific Grove – Deer Haven Inn

For her sacrifice and hospitality toward CALMAT and EMSA staff during a COVID-19 deployment. As manager at the Deer Haven Inn hotel, Susan Arredondo welcomed EMSA staff with kindness and understanding when others were afraid to, during the initial days of COVID-19.

Blaine Engbert, Tracey Jacobs – Rancho Cordova – Rancho Cordova High School

For immediately attempting CPR to save the life of a tenth-grade student who had collapsed at Cordova High School. Blaine Engbert and Tracey Jacobs saved Sunn Carson’s life after the student collapsed suddenly. Unresponsive and without a pulse, school nurse Engbert immediately began chest compressions to keep Carson’s oxygen flowing. After several days in the hospital Carson made a stunning recovery and learned of a previously undetected medical condition. Doctors believe he would not be alive today if not for Cordova High School’s first responders.

Kenroy Simon – Rancho Cordova – Holiday Inn Rancho Cordova

For his kindness and generosity toward CALMAT and EMSA staff during a COVID-19 deployment. As manager at the Holiday Inn Rancho Cordova hotel, Kenroy Simon welcomed CALMAT and EMSA staff with hospitality and responsiveness despite potential exposure to COVID-19. Simon offered the use of his industrial laundry machines, purchased specially requested items, and made sure to negotiate the best rates for his long-term guests, who have become like family to him. Despite frequent last-minute changes, checking in and out with only a moment’s notice, Simon showed flexibility, made himself available during his days off, and says he felt honored to have been able to help.


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