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Ceremony honors emergency medical services across Montana

EMS Awards
Posted at 7:50 PM, May 22, 2024

HELENA — The Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services hosted its annual EMS awards on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, recognizing emergency responders, dispatchers and ambulance services.

“Emergencies occur at all times of day and night, and when those calls happen, you are being pulled away from your family, your job or a special event – and the list goes on,” said Governor Greg Gianforte. “Thank you for being there when you're most needed and for making those sacrifices.”

One of the winners was Hinsdale Ambulance Service, an all-volunteer service from a small Hi-Line community. Dorothy Jensen, an advanced EMT and co-manager, said they largely fund their programs through fundraisers like auctioning pies.

The service was recognized for their work to be ready for helping children. Jensen and three other volunteers – Jamie Mix, Renae Boucher, and Heidi McColly – were on hand to receive the award.

Jensen said they went through extra training and got equipment through the state specifically to get recertified for responding to children. That paid off when they responded to an 8-year-old seriously injured in a four-wheeler crash last October – a situation Jensen said was just like a simulation they had gone through during training.

“It was just amazing how that training kicked in for each of us and we all did our part – and that child today is very productive,” she said. “Those children calls are scary, but we're ready to serve.”

The other award winners recognized Wednesday were:

  • Volunteer EMS Provider of the Year Lowell Strissel, of Hill County Ambulance
  • Career EMS Provider of the Year Steve Emerson, of Big Sky Ski Patrol and Gallatin Gateway Volunteer Fire Department
  • EMS Service of the Year Madison Valley Ambulance Service
  • 911 Dispatcher of the Year Brandon Skogen, of the Great Falls/Cascade County Emergency Communication Center
  • EMS Supporter of the Year Garnee Erickson, of Glendive

Gianforte also signed a proclamation recognizing EMS Week. This is the 50th anniversary of that annual event, intended to educate the public about EMS and honor the people providing the services.