Editor's Note: Thanks to the Westchester Regional EMS Council for sending this report to Patch.
Sleepy Hollow, NY – On May 24, 2012, the Westchester Regional EMS Council honored the EMS providers in the county by hosting the 39th annual EMS Awards Ceremony at Sleepy Hollow High School.
It was expected that more than 100 EMS providers and their families would be in attendance to celebrate the presentation of the annual EMS awards and the conferral of lifesaving citations.
Honors were awarded for the following categories:
EMT of the Year: Arlene Testa, Transcare EMS. A Carmel resident, Arlene Testa has been an EMT with Transcare EMS for seven years. Before arriving at Transcare, she already had seven years of experience in an Advanced Life Support system plus more than 20 years of management experience in the corporate sector. Arlene was Captain of Harrison Volunteer Ambulance Corps from 2001 through 2005 and has been a passionate and dedicated EMT, serving both volunteer and career agencies.
Paramedic of the Year: Joseph Bucchignano, Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Joe Bucchignano started his EMS career in 1992 as a youth member of the Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps. He soon became a Certified First Responder, EMT, and in 1999, became a Paramedic. Joe has been a Paramedic with Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps since 1999. In addition to conducting training sessions in rappelling and rope rescues, he has developed both the OSHA respiratory protection plan and the bloodborne pathogen plan for Ossining. A Patterson resident, Joe tirelessly promotes EMS and demonstrates his continued enthusiasm through training and drills for the Emergency Services community.
EMS Volunteer of the Year: Gary Conklin, Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Gary Conklin joined Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps (OVAC) in March of 2010. He immersed himself in every aspect of the organization. This enthusiasm was recognized by his peers as he was elected to the OVAC Board of Directors after just seven months of service. An Ossining resident, Gary puts in 36-40 hours per week, responding as an EMT and maintaining the building and equipment. Gary has been instrumental in mentoring others as well as recruiting new members.
EMS Educator of Excellence: Joyce Wilson, Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Joyce Wilson has been dedicated to EMS in Westchester for more than 21 years. She has been an EMT, Paramedic, Certified Lab Instructor, Certified Instructor Coordinator, and Director of Quality Assurance. She has held positions on the New York City, Hudson Valley, and Westchester Regional EMS Medical Advisory Committees; she has been part of the Westchester Credentialing Committee and the chair of the Westchester QA Committee. Joyce is perhaps best known, though, for her commitment to developing healthcare providers through her instruction and mentoring – Joyce has the unique ability to connect with any personality and learning style and guide them in a positive direction for success.
Registered Professional Nurse of Excellence: Robert Figoria, St. Joseph’s Hospital. Robert Figoria of Yonkers started working in EMS in 1991 as an EMT for Empress EMS. He continued to work as a dispatcher for Empress while attending school to become a registered nurse. Robert is a Nurse Manager and is in charge of the HazMat team at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He works closely with EMS in the city of Yonkers and has a great relationship with the paramedics and EMTs in the region.
EMS Leadership Award: Scott Moore, Port Chester Rye Rye Brook EMS (PCRRBEMS). A Paramedic since 1997, Scott has been a Supervisor at Port Chester, Rye, Rye Brook EMS and has managed payroll, scheduling, and EMS operations. In 2000, Scott was selected to take on the role of Administrator of PCRRBEMS. A Goldens Bridge resident, Scott created and maintains Public Access Defibrillation programs for several public service agencies, government, and private facilities. Scott addresses students in local high schools on drug and alcohol abuse and has done outreach and ride-along programs with BOCES. Scott has drawn over $45,000 in EMS grants and has been an active member of the Westchester County EMS Advisory Board.
EMS Agency of the Year: Cortlandt Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Cortlandt VAC has been an established Basic Life Support Agency since 1984. They began an outreach program in 2011, with an objective to give back to the community that supports them. They initiated five key programs to meet this objective: Through “Keeping the Beat”, Cortlandt VAC donated two Public Access Defibrillation devices to the community. “File of Life” has provided more than 3000 community members with lifesaving packets. They have trained more than 100 people through the “Free CPR program”. Through “Neighbors Helping Neighbors”, Cortlandt VAC donated a therapeutic recreational swing to developmentally disabled students. And through the “Community Visits” program, water bottles, hands-only CPR magnets, and other items are given out to local residents to educate about emergency care and the ambulance service.
- Civilian Award: Silvanio Dossantos of Harrison. On August 1, 2011, The Armonk Fire Department was dispatched to a Motor Vehicle Accident with injuries on Interstate 684. Upon their arrival, they found a pedestrian had been struck and thrown over the side of a bridge. She was lying in a swamp 20 feet below the railing of the bridge. She was suffering from life threatening injuries and was lying in approximately 8-10 inches of water. Silvanio Dossantos, a Harrison resident, was driving on I684 and witnessed the accident. He stopped to help. He saw that the woman was in water having trouble keeping her head out of the water on her own. He found an electrical cord in his car, tied it to the railing of the bridge, and climbed down to help her. He held her head above the water until more help arrived and was able to get down to care for her in the swamp. Mr. Dossantos stayed with her for over an hour until the patient was extricated.
- Domenick DiRienzo, EMT - Eastchester Fire Department
- Robert Monetta, Paramedic - Westchester EMS
- Mark Sfarra, Paramedic - Westchester EMS
- Richard Waterbury, 1st Assistant Chief - Westchester EMS
Emergency Medical Dispatcher Citations:
- David Berry, Westchester County DES
- William Hecker, Westchester County DES
- Dennis Reilly, Westchester County DES
- Armonk Fire Department
- Fairview Fire Department Technical Rescue Team / Greenburgh PD Greenburgh Police Technical Rescue Team / Greenburgh PD
- Hastings-on-Hudson Volunteer Fire Department Ambulance Corps
- Purchase Fire Department
- St John's Emergency Department
- Westchester EMS
- White Plains Fire Department
“Often in the face of great peril, these emergency service workers and concerned citizens have brought skill and determination to help others in need, often with amazing results.” said Chris Kalish, Chairman of the information committee.