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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2019

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
               Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

DPHHS to honor Emergency Medical Services providers

Emergency medical care personnel from Whitehall, Miles City, Lewistown and Billings to receive awards

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will honor Montana Emergency Medical Services personnel from Whitehall, Miles City, Lewistown and Billings during an awards ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda Thursday, May 23 at 11 a.m.

Representatives from Jefferson Valley EMS in Whitehall, Central Montana Medical Center Ambulance (CMCC) in Lewistown, Miles City Fire Rescue, and Billings EMS will be honored by First Lady Lisa Bullock and Jim DeTienne, EMS and Trauma Systems Supervisor for DPHHS.

This event is part of National Emergency Medical Services Week held May 19-25, 2019. This year’s theme is “EMS Strong: Beyond the Call”.

First Lady Bullock said Montana’s emergency medical responders, both paid and volunteer, provide a critical service to this state. “It’s such an honor to congratulate those who make sacrifices each and every day for their fellow Montanans,” she said. “These are people who are willing to take that call – day or night – to respond to an emergency, whatever it might be.”

DeTienne said, on average, Montana residents will need an ambulance service at least twice in his or her lifetime. “For some of these patients, delays in receiving emergency care could contribute to death or permanent injury,” he said. “Montana’s system of the public trained in CPR and AEDs (automatic external defibrillators), law enforcement and fire responders, EMS and hospitals teams are essential elements of health care in Montana.”

Nominated by their peers, awards will be presented to:

  • Volunteer EMS Provider of the Year Award, Francis “Topper” Giono, Jefferson Valley EMS, Whitehall. This award honors a volunteer EMS provider who is exemplary in his/her quality of patient care and dedication to their community.

About Francis “Topper” Giono: Giono has been an EMS volunteer provider in the Whitehall community since 1969 after attending his first EMT class. Whether serving as an ambulance attendant, town marshal, or county deputy, Giono has been on countless 9-1-1 calls during the last 50 years of his service. Nearly 78 years old, Topper continues to drive the ambulance on just about every call as well as maintain the service’s fleet of ambulances. One of the most inspiring parts of Topper’s story is the family legacy that has followed in his footsteps. All seven of his children have chosen careers in public service including law enforcement, EMS and other healthcare fields. Even several grandchildren are choosing the same path.

  • Career EMS Provider of the Year Award, Sara Lewin, firefighter/paramedic, Miles City Fire Rescue. This award also is for a career EMS provider who exemplifies quality of care and dedication to the community.

About Sarah Lewin: Lewin is a firefighter/paramedic with Miles City Fire Rescue (MCFR). MCFR Chief Branden Stevens states Sarah is an extremely driven individual. Lewin truly cares about her patients and the care that each member of MCFR provides. Lewin is always willing to help others and she teaches EMS and EMT courses on her own time for other services in the area. After an increase in drowning calls in the area, Lewin started a very successful Community Water Safety Awareness program.

  • EMS Service of the Year Award, Central Montana Medical Center Ambulance, Lewistown. An EMS service of the year exhibits dedication to improving patient care through education, injury prevention, community awareness, medical director involvement and collaboration with surrounding EMS services.

About Central Montana Medical Center Ambulance (CMMC): CMMC Ambulance serves a large geographic area including Fergus, Petroleum and Judith Basin counties and has aggressively increased staffing to provide advanced life support services. CMMC has forged relationships with surrounding services to provide education and support. For example, through the hard work and dedication of various team members, CMMC Ambulance has been able to provide nearby communities with CPR classes, Stop the Bleed education and Lucas Device training.

CMMC Ambulance is very active when it comes to injury prevention, including educating the public about seatbelt use and the dangers of distracted driving.

Also, a full EMT class is now offered to the senior class of Fergus County High School. Through the vision of CMMC Ambulance Medical Director Dr. Amy LePage, a yearlong course was integrated just this year where 11 students became nationally registered EMTs. CMMC Ambulance is also involved with assisting in the instruction of a one week first aid and safety education course for the school’s sophomore class.

  • EMS Support of the Year Award, Lyndy Gurchiek, Billings area EMS community. This award honors an individual who has demonstrated exceptional support for EMS, EMS agencies and the broader EMS system.

About Lyndy Gurchiek: Gurchiek has gone beyond the call to support the Billings EMS community through initial and ongoing education. Through her years as a paramedic, she has also worked ‘off the clock’ to train the next generations of EMS providers. Gurchiek facilitates high quality EMT courses through Big Sky EMS. Big Sky EMS is the educational branch of the Billings Fire Department, with support from City College Montana State University Billings, St. Vincent Healthcare and Billings Clinic. Big Sky EMS provides continuing educational opportunities for local and state EMTs through a variety of activities and teaches basic EMT courses in Billings. Among many other educational activities, she annually plans and coordinates the Big Sky EMS Symposium, one of the state’s largest and most attended statewide EMS conference opportunities.Add Content...