MOOSIC — First responders from Pittston were among those honored for their service during the 14th annual EMS Provider of the Year Awards last week at PNC Field.
The event coincided with National Emergency Medical Services Week, which ran from May 20-26.
More than 300 EMS professionals attended.
Speakers included Scott Danowsky, an EMS coordinator at Geisinger, and Frank Bedosky, of Berwick, who suffered a stroke in his yard last fall.
Bedosky’s neighbor and Geisinger anesthesiologist Dr. David Kasputis just happened to be walking by with his dogs at the time Bedosky fell into the grass. Kasputis recognized his neighbor was suffering a stroke and quickly called for help.
While he was in an ambulance headed to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, an emergency crew remained in constant contact with a vascular neurosurgeon and others at GMC.
“They were ready and waiting when I got there,” Bedosky said in a press release. “After two days in the hospital with a stroke, I’m fine. I’m back to being as normal as I can be.”
David Schoenwetter, D.O., director of Geisinger EMS, named Providers of the Year in two categories.
The Alice and Bob Walsh Heroism Award was given to EMT Michael Ankenbrand and paramedic Emmett Thomas, both of Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance. They were honored for their bravery in an incident where their ambulance was struck in a head-on collision. Both cared for the patient they were transporting as well as the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash. After the awards ceremony, the two threw out the first pitch at a RailRiders game.
Geisinger’s heroism award was actually renamed at the event to honor the Walshes, who helped found the Sweet Valley Ambulance Association and served the fire company for over 50 years before both of them died at age 84 in 2017.
The Walsh family was presented a plaque to mark the occasion.
Meanwhile, Jody Hutton, a paramedic for Pocono Mountain Regional Emergency Medical Services, was honored with the James “Sox” Ruane Award for Community Service. Hutton assisted two elderly patients by fostering their dog until they could return home.
Some of the other nominees for the Walsh award:
• Paramedics Joseph Chiumento, Christopher Chromey, and Michael May, along with EMTs Jaimie Merlino and Norman Ostrowski, all of Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance, who selflessly and without personal protective equipment rescued three children at a fire.
• Berwick Police Detective Greg Martin, who assisted the Columbia County Victim/Witness Program by collecting donations for the mother of a deceased child, as well as donating some of his own belongings, time and service to help the family.
Nominees for the Ruane award included:
• Kathryn Bommer, pre-hospital registered nurse and Geisinger trauma outreach coordinator, and Bob Getz, EMT, Factoryville Fire Co., who in just three months taught more than 1,100 students in five counties how to provide front-line care through the “Stop the Bleed” program.
• Matthew Crimi, a dispatcher for the Lackawanna County Department of Emergency Services who also volunteers for multiple ambulance companies. In addition, he is an active member of the Dickson City Fire Department and still finds time to coach his children’s sports teams.