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Boston EMS to Honor the Best of the Best

November 6, 2014

 Boston Emergency Medical Services will hold its 22nd annual awards banquet tomorrow November 7th, at 6 p.m. at the Venezia Restaurant, located at 20 Ericsson St. in Dorchester.  The department, joined by Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Public Health Interim Commissioner Huy Nguyen, will reflect on another year of service to the residents and visitors of Boston, and honor emergency medical technicians and paramedics who distinguished themselves through heroic actions and meritorious service.

"Our EMTs and paramedics are on the front lines, saving lives and keeping the people here safe and healthy," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "As a lifelong resident of the City, I've seen their incredible work first-hand, and I'm proud to support these first responders. This is our chance to thank them and recognize their service and accomplishments, and I'm honored to be a part of this event."

“Because of the nature of our work, Boston EMS never pauses. Tonight, we are taking time to reflect and honor our own,” said Chief James Hooley. “I am very proud of the work of our EMS personnel, and not just on the large scale calls or disasters that you might hear about on the news. Our EMTs, paramedics and support services staff answer the call more than 116,000 times a year providing high quality and efficient pre-hospital care.”

Mayor Walsh will present the Department’s highest awards for high-quality patient care and valor. The Lifesaving Medal will be presented to EMT Raphael Hernandez, a 26-year veteran of Boston EMS, for saving the life of a Boston Triathlon participant. The Medal of Valor will be awarded to EMT James McCabe, who has been with the Department for 9 years, for saving the life of a person found floating in the Charles River.

The Department’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, will be presented to EMTs Kevin Coan and Cameron Walsh for their quick and heroic actions to save a person threatening to jump off a fire escape. EMTs Coan and Walsh have each been with Boston EMS for 7 years.

In total, 58 honors will be awarded to department members, as well as 4 civilians being recognized at the ceremony.

To learn more about Boston EMS, visit www.cityofboston.gov/EMS, and follow the latest news of the department on Facebook and Twitter.

Media guidance for the night of the ceremony and full citations for the awards are listed below:

Guidance for the Media: Photo/Video Opportunity

What:              Boston EMS Annual Awards Ceremony

Where:            Venezia Restaurant, 22 Ericsson Street, Dorchester, MA 02122

When:             Friday, November 7, 2014

Note: The Mayor will present the three top awards for

valor starting approximately at 7 pm

On-site contact: McKenzie Ridings, 617-530-0186

Award Citations and Background:

LIFESAVING MEDAL: Awarded to members of the Service who are directly responsible for saving a human life through the professional application of life support in an unusual situation and under extreme or adverse conditions.

Assigned to the Boston Triathlon, EMT Raphael Hernandez showed great situational awareness by spotting a swimmer during the swimming portion of the competition who seemed to be in distress. After relaying his observations over the radio, he took immediate rescue action by entering the water, extricating the swimmer and initiating resuscitative efforts.

MEDAL OF VALOR: Awarded to any member of the Service who distinguishes himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.

EMT James McCabe responded to a report of a person down along the banks of the Charles River. Upon arrival, EMT McCabe, who was training two EMT-Recruits at the time, realized the person was in the water. After updating operations, EMT McCabe rushed into the river, dragged the patient to a shallower point of the River, where it was safe for the EMT-Recruits to help get the patient to shore, and then transported to a hospital. Without the heroic actions EMT James McCabe, the man would not be alive today.

MEDAL OF HONOR: Awarded to any member of the Service who distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life.

EMTs Coan and Walsh responded to a Boston Police Department request for assistance for an individual attempting to jump off of a fire escape. Upon arrival, EMTs Coan and Walsh were able to subdue the patient, preventing him from falling to the ground, while risking their own lives and going above and beyond the call of duty to prevent the patient from harming himself.

According to their Shift Commander, Deputy Superintendent Edmund Hassan, “EMTs Walsh and Coan exemplify the values of Boston EMS,” many times risking their own safety to help a patient in need. The humble, veteran crew quietly takes care of business, clear the call, and continues on, helping the residents of Boston. When asked, Deputy Hassan described them as “Quiet Excellence.”