Six Honored as CAA Stars of Life

HLH-Stars-Rotunda-3-24-15 DSC_0090Six emergency medical services professionals from Hall Ambulance Service, Inc. were recognized as Stars of Life at the state Capitol on Monday, March 23, 2015. Their actions are as varied as their positions, but demonstrate they have stood out amongst their peers as the best of the best working in California’s private ambulance industry.

Highlighting this year’s honorees are a flight nurse, who was inspired to pursue a career in EMS after her own harrowing experience of being involved in an MVA; a paramedic relief supervisor, who after being struck by a drunk driver, managed to self-extricate himself from the wreckage and began providing medical aid to other victims—irrespective of his own injuries; and an EMT who was faced with delivering not one, but two babies outside the ambulance entrance of a local hospital.

The event, sponsored by the California Ambulance Association, recognizes the selfless work of the state’s private ambulance providers who assess, treat and transport 3 million California citizens per year.

The following Hall Ambulance employees were honored as Stars of Life:

Armando Lazaro Paramedic Field SupervisorArmando Lazaro, Paramedic Relief Supervisor
On the evening of November 15, 2014, Lazaro was returning a firefighter to station, which had assisted during a transport from Taft to a Bakersfield-area hospital. That is when, in an instant, things changed dramatically.

A drunk driver headed north on Highway 119, crossed the centerline, sideswiping another car, and then collided, nearly head-on with the Hall Ambulance Paramedic Supervisor Unit. The first responder vehicle careened off the roadway, rolling multiple times before coming to rest upside down.

With seatbelts fastened and air bags deployed, Lazaro self-extricated from the vehicle, crawling to safety. With certain calmness to his voice, Lazaro made radio contact to Hall Ambulance’s Communications Center to report having been involved in the crash.
Irrespective of his own injuries, he began the process of treating the other victims.
It was not clear until much later, when Paramedic Lazaro realized how severe the extent of his injuries were—suddenly finding himself transitioning from rescuer, to becoming a patient. He was hospitalized and required surgery to repair a compound fracture to his elbow.

Lazaro, started his career in emergency medical services as a graduate of the Hall EMT Academy, in 2007, and attended paramedic school in 2009. He was promoted to relief supervisor in the spring of 2014.

Makenzie Stevens Hall CCT Flight NurseMakenzie Stevens, Flight Nurse, Hall Critical Care Transport
Makenzie Stevens is a flight nurse assigned to Hall Critical Care Transport’s MedEvac 1 helicopter. While many flight nurses experience their first helicopter ride through a job interest ride-along or during new hire orientation. That was not the case for Stevens. Her first helicopter ride came in quite a different fashion, which is what inspired her to become a flight nurse.

At 17 years-old, and a month away from graduating high school, Stevens was critically injured in a motor vehicle accident. She was transported by helicopter to a Bakersfield area hospital and later transferred to a rehabilitation center. Despite multiple years of a grueling recovery process, this experience instilled a drive and passion for her to help others the same way she was once cared for.

In 2004, Stevens completed the first step of her dream of becoming a flight nurse by completing nursing school. This was no easy task in the beginning. She failed some of her first classes and was told her injuries would never allow for her to become a nurse. She would spend the next six years working in local hospital emergency rooms gathering the much-needed experience to become a flight nurse.

In 2010, Stevens made the move to Hall Critical Care Transport, and became a full-time Flight Nurse on MedEvac 1 in February 2011. Over the past 4 years, Stevens has developed a confident and independent skill set that is essential for a flight nurse.

In 2014, she was instrumental in mentoring new flight nurses and paramedics. She also worked numerous overtime shifts that were needed to cover vacant shifts all the while not missing a day of work for more than three years. Stevens has proven that she is a valuable team member to Hall Critical Care Transport and that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to.

William Dietz EMTBill Dietz, Emergency Medical Technician
On April 8, 2014, EMT William (Bill) Dietz was at Memorial Hospital cleaning his assigned ambulance after completing a call, while his paramedic partner was inside the emergency department completing paperwork. A car pulled onto the ambulance ramp with a woman in active labor. Dietz immediately stepped in to help. He found a baby that was presenting in a breech delivery. He reached out and turned the baby allowing for a safe delivery into his arms.

Paramedic Field Supervisor Arnold Thomas arrived at this point and took the baby from him to begin stimulating the newborn; however, this EMT was not quite finished. He proceeded to coach the mom through a second delivery.

Supervisor Thomas noted that Dietz had gone above and beyond his basic life support skills by delivering two newborns. Throughout the entire situation, Dietz, remained cool, calm, and collected.

Myron Smith Manager Hall CCTMyron Smith, manager, Hall Critical Care Transport
A third generation EMS worker (his grandfather volunteered on an ambulance in Wasco, and his father owned Taft Ambulance), Smith completed his first EMS call while he was still in elementary school—stowed away on a call with his mom and dad.

Smith has been nominated for a Star of Life in recognition of the many lives he has touched through his dedication to EMS education in Kern County, and beyond.
Smith has served as the volunteer program director for the Bakersfield College Paramedic Training Program, since 2005. The program graduates two classes each year.
He has established Hall Ambulance as a leader in EMS education as he oversees and acts as lead instructor and faculty of record for the Company’s many training programs which include Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support, Advanced Medical Life Support, CPR and the Hall Ambulance EMT Academy.

Smith serves on several EMS boards and committees including serving as the California Ambulance Association’s representative on the State Trauma Evaluation Committee; he represents Hall CCT at the Association of Air Medical Services, California Association of Air Medical Services; Helicopter Association International, International Association of Flight Paramedics, National Association of EMS Educators, and the California Paramedic Program Directors Association.

Ed Cordova Lead Emergency Medical DispatcherEd Cordova, Lead Emergency Medical Dispatcher
Ed Cordova began his EMS career with Hall Ambulance in 2002. He is certified as an Advanced National Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Kern County Certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher and an emergency medical technician.

In February, he was recognized as the Hall Ambulance EMD of the Year, during the Company’s Annual Employee Recognition Awards.

Cordova is being honored as a CAA Star of Life because of his dedication towards his career. He is able to demonstrate his acquired skills in a calm, compassionate manner, while focusing on a multitude of tasks. In 2014, Cordova processed over 5,157 calls for service, provided EMD instructions to over 684 requests for medical aid, dispatched over 5,000 calls—while maintaining 100% EMD compliance.

Andrew Kiser ParamedicAndrew Kiser, Parmedic
Paramedic Andrew Kiser is being honored for his exemplary delivery of compassionate care and customer service. Kiser was named the recipient of the Hall Ambulance President’s Award for Customer Service, during the 2015 Employee Recognition Awards in February.

Each day, Hall Ambulance is called upon more than 200 times to care for someone in need of medical aid. In each case, our paramedics and EMTs are expected to treat our customers with respect—whether a homeless person, a businessman, a mom in a shelter, or someone under arrest.

The Stars of Life honorees followed a busy itinerary, starting with a breakfast buffet and legislative briefing before attending the medal presentation ceremony. Afterwards, they made their way to the steps of the state Capitol for a group photo to commemorate the occasion with honorees from other private ambulance providers from across California.

SnFuller-Stars-SnVidak 3-24-15 DSC_0105To highlight their accomplishments, Senator Jean Fuller, 16th District; recognized the Hall Ambulance Stars on the floor of the Senate, presenting them with Senate Resolutions. They also had the opportunity to meet with Assemblymember Rudy Salas, 32nd District; and Assemblymember Shannon Groves, 34th District.

The day concluded with a reception, followed by the Stars of Life Awards Dinner at the Embassy Suites Hotel, where Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, 52nd District; presented them with Assembly Certificates of Recognition. Rodriguez, worked as an EMT for over 29 years in the San Gabriel Valley, and is a previous CAA Star of Life recipient.

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