KENNETT SQUARE (May 21) – State Senator Andy Dinniman received the 2016 Chester County EMS Council Robert Thompson Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the EMS community in Chester County.
Dinniman, who was recently appointed to the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said he was honored and humbled to receive the award at the council’s annual awards dinner on Thursday evening.
“Of course, the real heroes here are our emergency first responders who dedicate themselves every hour of every day to keeping our communities safe and saving lives,” Dinniman said. “As your state Senator, I have always and I will always make public safety my first priority and I will continue work tirelessly to ensure that our emergency first responder and ambulance companies have the tools, support, and resources they need to do their jobs.”
In presenting the award, Chester County EMS Council President and Malvern Fire Company EMS Chief Keith Johnson cited Dinniman’s strong record as a proponent of EMS throughout his 35 years of public service.
“Most recently Senator Dinniman has been instrumental in supporting Project Naloxone and sponsoring legislation to extend the protection of the Pennsylvania Peer Review Protection Act to regional EMS councils and advisory boards. He is also spearheading the effort to amend proposed balance billing legislation to exempt pre-hospital EMS agencies responding to 911 calls from such,” Johnson said. “He has and continues to fight for us when the cause is just. We can’t thank him enough for his support but hope by honoring him tonight he can see how much it means to us and those we care for.”
According to the council, “the award is presented to a public official who has made significant contributions to the planning, development, implementation or evaluation of EMS systems within their local community or the commonwealth as a whole.”
Dinniman said he was further honored to receive an award bearing the name of his predecessor, the late state Senator Bob Thompson. Thompson served Chester County for more than three decades, first as West Goshen Township Supervisor, then as a Chester County Commissioner, and finally as state Senator for the 19th Senatorial District from 1995 until his passing in 2006.
“Anyone who knew Senator Thompson will tell you that he set the bar in terms of leadership, bipartisanship and representation in our region. I have always strived to follow his example,” Dinniman said.
This is the second time Dinniman has been honored with the EMS Council’s Robert Thompson Memorial Award. He first received the honor in 2010.
Since then, Dinniman has continued to be deeply involved with efforts to strengthen emergency first responders and emergency medical services in Chester County and the region.
Last week, his Senate Bill 1096, legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Premise Alert System as law was unanimously passed out of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. The Premise Alert System (PAS) is a system to allow anyone with any special need, complex medical diagnosis or disability to share pertinent information with local law enforcement and the 911 system. It is in use in communities across the nation and replicated by law in Illinois and Wisconsin. In recent years, the PAS has proven to be effective, efficient, and cost neutral both large cities and small towns.
Dinniman also helped lead the effort to pass Act 139 of 2014, legislation that allows police officers, emergency medical responders, firefighters and others to carry the life-saving, anti-overdose drug Naloxone (Narcan). He also worked with Good Fellowship Ambulance and EMS Training Institute to cut through red tape and update state regulations to ensure that emergency medical responders and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) across Pennsylvania got access to Naloxone months ahead of time.
In addition to continuing to work on effective ways to address the crisis of addiction, Dinniman’s office maintains a close working relationship with ambulance and EMS companies, as well as the law enforcement and fire service community on state issues, legislation, and regulations impacting emergency first responders.
“Chester County is fortunate to have some of the best emergency first responders in the nation and I will continue to work in the spirit of bipartisanship to ensure that their voices are heard in Harrisburg and that they have access to necessary state support and resources,” Dinniman said. “After all, public safety is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It’s a Pennsylvania issue.”
In addition, Senator Dinniman was joined by the Chester County legislative delegation presented special Senate citations to the following individuals who were recognized by the Chester County EMS Council:
- Joshua Schreiber – Basic Life Support Provider of the Year
- Wilbur Emmons – Advanced Life Support Provider of the Year
- Jon Kromer – Tele-Communicator of the Year
- Herbert N. Schiffer – EMS Educator of the Year
- Kimberly Ann Holman – Nicholas H. S Campbell Meritorious Service / EMS Leadership Award
- Minquas Fire Company – Distinguished Service Award of the Year
- Officer Rick Moran – Medal of Valor
- Officer Rodney Discher – Medal of Valor
- Brian Gathercole – Medal of Valor
- Andy Rumford – Citizens Award
- Vince Blando – Citizens Award
- Dave Lattanzi – Citizens Award
- Bonnie Smith – Citizens Award
- Laurie Nelson – Citizens Award