Date: August 25, 2020
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936, (406) 461-3757, jebelt@mt.gov
                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391, (406) 461-8367, hcouncil@mt.gov

DPHHS Recognizes Emergency Medical Services providers

Emergency medical care personnel from Helena, Hobson, Bozeman and Malta to receive 2020 awards

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is honoring Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel from Helena, Hobson, Bozeman and Malta for their efforts to respond to emergencies, further their professional training, educate their communities on CPR and first aid, and improve emergency care in Montana.

Governor Steve Bullock issued this congratulatory video message to all those being honored this year. “Congratulations to those EMS works being recognized this year for exceptional service to their communities,” Bullock said. “I thank you for your tireless dedication. You are truly making a difference in Montana.”

DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said Montana’s emergency medical responders, both paid and volunteer, provide a critical service to this state and continue to do so during COVID-19. “The services these individuals provide has the potential to impact us all,” Hogan said. “Emergencies are unpredictable, but when these situations occur, it’s reassuring to know that EMS is there.”

Shari Graham of the DPHHS EMS and Trauma Systems, said on average, Montana residents will need an ambulance service at least twice in his or her lifetime. “Montana’s system of training the public in CPR and AEDs (automatic external defibrillators), law enforcement and fire responders, EMS and hospitals teams are all essential elements of health care in Montana,” she said. “These groups work diligently to ensure the people in their community are receiving the best care possible.”

DPHHS began this awards program in 2015 to honor EMS volunteer and career providers. Earlier this year, DPHHS asked for nominations from EMS workers across the state. Each award recipient will receive a plaque from the agency in the coming weeks. An in-person awards ceremony was not held this year due to COVID-19.

These dedicated Montanans respond 24/7 to calls for help, transporting people to emergency departments staffed by nurses, physicians and other medical personnel who support efforts to improve emergency care in the field. They also promote health and safety within their communities by teaching classes and hosting safety events.

Individuals and organizations were nominated by their peers and are as follows:

911 Dispatcher of the Year

Coleen Kautt – Phillips County Sheriff’s Department – Malta

Kautt is a 911 Dispatcher for the Phillips County Sheriff’s Department 911 Dispatch Center and a volunteer EMT for the Phillips County Ambulance Service. Kautt works to explore ways she can improve her skills as a dispatcher and provide a better service to the 911 callers requiring medical assistance. She assisted the Sheriff’s Office with the implementation of Emergency Medical Dispatch. “Coleen is a perfect example of what it is to be a 911 dispatcher,” Riley Abrahamson, Phillips County Ambulance Service manager, said. “She is confident, competent, knowledgeable, dedicated and adept. Any first responder should feel safe knowing Coleen is behind the mic.”

EMS Career Provider of the Year

David Webster, Paramedic – St. Peters Ambulance Service, Helena

At St. Peter’s, Webster’s mantra has been steady improvement in serving the community. Webster helped lead the effort to increase ambulance staffing 53% from 2017 to 2019, almost doubling ambulance unit availability. The ambulance service now schedules six and often seven 12-hour duty crews per day, including an ambulance posted to the north side of Helena 24/7/365 and an ambulance posted at the East Valley fire station most days of the week.

In 2001, he joined St. Peter’s as a paramedic, at a time when the service had just two duty crews per day. He was named Ambulance Department Director in 2014 and has steadily built the service’s capability and reputation since then.

“Webster is known in the EMS community for his leadership in building St. Peter’s Ambulance and his interest and ability in working with other career and volunteer services throughout the Helena Valley and across the state,” said St. Peter’s Hospital paramedic Kevin Quinn. “Webster has a passion for cardiac arrest care and has been committed to teaching high performance CPR for the past several years, on his own time, and at no charge to participants. His efforts have had a positive effect on cardiac arrest outcomes.”

EMS Volunteer Provider of the Year

Bernard and Martie Taylor, EMTs – Hobson

The Taylors recently retired after more than 40 years of service with Judith Basin EMS and Hobson Fire Department. Not only did they respond to every kind of emergency situation but also led fundraising for ambulances and fire trucks for the Hobson area. They have taught CPR, first aid and EMT classes to others in their community.

“Both deserve this award for their lifetime of service to the Hobson-Buffalo-Moccasin-Utica-Straw-Windham areas and indeed the whole of Judith Basin County EMS services,” said Dan and Marilyn Deichmann.

John L. Tripp B.S., M.S., D.D.S., of Billings commended the Taylors for their 40 years of service. “For the average person on the street, it probably did not seem like much of an effort or imposition for someone to do the things that are required to establish, train, maintain, and operate a firefighting and ambulance service,” Tripp said. “There is a great deal that must go on before the doors of the fire/ambulance hall doors swing open and the vehicles leave to provide professional service for the community. However, many hours of study, training others, planning, and maintaining equipment must be completed before one wheel is turned. Much of this was done by the Taylor’s for 40 years with little or no acknowledgment.”

EMS Supporter of the Year

Katie Boyce, Bozeman, MT

 Boyce is an EMS educator in Bozeman. She is the owner/operator of InterMountain Medical Educators which provides EMT and CPR classes throughout Montana. Boyce and her company have taught thousands of students of the past 20 years in Montana and many have gone on to become paramedics, nurses, and doctors.

“Katie has an amazing ability for teaching EMS. Her students are captivated by her teaching style and quickly become enthusiastic to learn EMS,” Torsten Pahl, a paramedic with Livingston Fire and Rescue, said. “She has created a ripple effect of EMS learning and education throughout the state.”

EMS Agency of the Year

Phillips County Ambulance Service – Malta

 Phillips County Ambulance Service is a small, rural, volunteer ambulance service that serves the community of Malta and the Phillips County area. They have a roster of 20 dedicated volunteer EMTs that provide 911 response and interfacility transport service to Phillips County.

“Like many rural volunteer EMS agencies, they struggle to find volunteers but their dedicated EMTs make sure someone is always available to answer the call,” Abrahamson said. “And, overcoming these obstacles, they are able to provide a tremendous service to the people they serve.”

Phillips County Ambulance volunteers provide other services to their community such as CPR classes, pedestrian safety classes and bicycle safety classes. They have also received recognition as a Pediatric Ready Ambulance Service. Pediatric Ready is a recognition earned through specific guidelines set by the EMS for Children program. This means the organization has taken the extra step to obtain pediatric-sized equipment and education specific to caring for children.


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