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NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

May 20, 2014


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

Emergency Medical Services Awards to be presented May 21, 2014

Kalispell, Bozeman and Colstrip EMS representatives to be honored

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will honor Montana Emergency Care Responders from Kalispell, Colstrip and Bozeman during an awards ceremony Wednesday, May 21 at 10 a.m. in Helena at the Capitol Rotunda.

This event is part of National Emergency Medical Services Week held May 18-24, 2014. This year’s theme is “EMS: Dedicated For Life.”

DPHHS Director Richard Opper will present awards to representatives from Flathead County EMS, Colstrip Ambulance Service, and Bozeman’s Gallatin Heart Rescue.

“These are people who are on call day or night to come to the aid of Montana’s children, families and visitors,” Director Opper said. “Today, we honor those Emergency Medical Responders for their dedication and service to this state.”

According to DPHHS EMS and Trauma Systems Supervisor Jim DeTienne, over 70 percent of EMS services are staffed by volunteers. Further, there are over 3,300 EMTs and paramedics who serve on a network of 265 EMS services across Montana. Hundreds more EMTs serve with law enforcement and fire agencies, in hospitals and clinics.

“These are people who dedicate their lives to assuring that for every patient, someone will be there to care for them,” DeTienne said. “This is something we must not take for granted, particularly in rural Montana, which as of late has experienced issues with the recruitment and retention of emergency response staff.”

The following awards will be presented:

EMS System Award, Flathead County EMS. The Flathead County EMS is comprised of Kalispell and surrounding communities. Flathead County EMS is being honored for its development of an Emergency Medical Care System. EMS is typically recognized as the ambulance or helicopter seen responding to the emergency. However, EMS operates at the crossroads of public safety, public health and health care and is therefore integrated with other emergency responders, health care providers and the community. The Flathead County EMS represents a coalition of people and agencies who prepare for a systems response to provide patient care every day for every kind of emergency.

EMS Service Award, Colstrip Ambulance Service. Colstrip Ambulance Service is being recognized for its team approach and professionalism providing EMS service to their community.  They work hand-in-hand with Colstrip Medical Center staff to provide emergency medical care and transport of the sick and injured in southern Rosebud County. Under the leadership of the Service Manager, Shawn Hage, and Medical Director, Jose Ortiz, PA., Colstrip Ambulance Service Strives to continuously improve the care they provide.

EMS Provider Award, Kevin Lauer of Gallatin Gateway Fire Department. Lauer is being honored for his efforts in rallying communities to provide public CPR training and to improve bystander response to out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest. In addition to working with the American Medical Response in Bozeman and donating time with the Gallatin Gateway Fire Department, Lauer co-founded Gallatin Heart Rescue. Gallatin Heart Rescue is a foundation instrumental in providing hands-only CPR training for over 14,000 participants as of April 2014. For this work, he is being recognized for his commitment to his community and to the EMS profession.
Montana’s EMS and Trauma System’s Mission is to reduce death and disability by providing leadership and coordination to the emergency care community in assessing, planning and developing a comprehensive, evidence-based emergency medical system. Its mission is the development of a comprehensive emergency medical service, trauma and injury prevention program.


Montana Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Awards


Richard Opper, Director, DPHHS
Jim DeTienne, DPHHS EMS and Trauma Systems
Shari Graham, EMS Systems Manager and Paramedic
Robin Suzor, EMS for Children Program Manager


Capitol Rotunda, Helena
1301 E 6th Ave


Wednesday, May 21, from 10 to 10:30 a.m. (reception to follow)

Page last updated 05/20/2014