The ambulance parked outside Gardiner’s Bay Country Club Wednesday evening, Oct. 6 was a stark reminder of the critical role played by the Emergency Medical Services team in the health and safety of Islanders. Inside, well-known first responders mingled with citizen volunteers at the annual awards dinner to recognize their efforts. This year, as Director Jack Thilberg noted in his remarks, their responses were complicated by the presence of the COVID virus, potentially exposing EMTs to dangerous infections while increasing the urgency of calls for patients suffering critical complications. The pandemic forced the cancellation of the awards dinner in 2020.
The event is the opportunity to announce the EMT of the year, and that honor went to Phil Power, the only person ever to receive it twice, according to Chief Mark Kanarvogel. Mr. Power also received the Distinguished Service Award. He is planning to retire soon and did not attend the dinner because he was on vacation. A profile of Mr. Power will appear in a future issue of the Reporter.
The Driver of the Year award was presented to Annmarie Seddio. In announcing the rate of responses to calls by all drivers, Ms. Seddio was recognized for responding to 22.2% of the calls.
The highest response rate for EMTs was cited for Mark Kanarvogel, with 83.1%. Awards were accepted on behalf of their departments by Chief Jim Read and Highway Superintendent Brian Sherman. The Ambulance Foundation, under the leadership of Jim Preston, was thanked for its support, which will deliver a third ambulance to the service early next year. Director Thilberg thanked Marian Brownlie, “without whom we wouldn’t be here,” for hosting the event.