For Immediate Release: May 17, 2021

Media Contact:
Ben Truman │ Vermont Department of Health

802-316-2117 / 802-863-7281
[email protected]

Vermont Honors its Emergency Medical Service Responders
EMS Week May 16-22 highlights contribution of individuals and services to state’s pandemic response

BURLINGTON, VT – Each year, Emergency Medical Service providers (EMS) throughout Vermont respond to more than 100,000 requests for assistance. Add to that the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and you come up with 2,800 responders and licensed ambulance and first responder services who deserve every moment of the EMS Week recognition that started on Sunday.

Governor Phil Scott officially kicked off this year’s celebration with a proclamation declaring May 16 - 22, 2021 as EMS Week.

As part of EMS Week, the state honors several individuals and EMS agencies for their outstanding efforts and commitment to service. This year the following awards were presented:

  • Vermont EMS Lifetime Award: Neil Van Dyke, EMT, Stowe Mountain Service
  • Advanced Life Support (ALS) Provider of the Year: Rich Dana, AEMT, Richmond Rescue
  • Ambulance Service of the Year: Waterbury Ambulance
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) Provider of the Year: Matthew Pietryka, EMT, Hardwick Emergency Rescue Squad
  • EMS Educator of the Year: Keith Hermiz, AEMT, Grafton Rescue Squad
  • EMS for Children Champions of the Year:
    • Dr. David Nelson, University of Vermont Medical Center
    • Kate Soons, AEMT, St. Michael’s College Fire and Rescue
    • AEMT Mariah Whitcomb, AEMT, Thetford Volunteer Fire Department
  • First Responder Service of the Year: Underhill Jericho Fire Department

“The challenges presented to our healthcare system in the past year have been beyond the imagination,” said Dan Batsie, the Department of Health’s director of Emergency Preparedness, Response and Injury Prevention.

“Never before has emergency medical services faced a crisis of such length and complexity,” said Batsie, “but more than demonstrating their well-established ability to get the job done under difficult circumstances, EMS proved once again how valuable they are as a true partner in public health.”

Batsie, who also serves as the Health Department’s pandemic response incident commander, applauded the women and men of Vermont EMS for standing tall in the face of crisis with courage and determination.

“From managing their own and their patients’ protection from the virus with new PPE requirements, to taking on homebound vaccination efforts, to clinic operation and staffing, our agencies have been a critical resource in Vermont’s successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Batsie said. “I want every EMS provider across the state to take a moment this week to reflect upon their extraordinary accomplishments and share the pride we have in them for doing so much to keep Vermonters safe.”

Governor Scott asks all Vermonters to show their appreciation for their work and sacrifice of our emergency responders by getting their COVID-19 vaccination. More than 30 EMS-lead vaccination clinics are being scheduled statewide.

The full schedule will be available at, where you can also register for a vaccine and find the latest walk-in, mobile and pop-up clinics near you.

With many EMS units in Vermont made up of volunteers, the Health Department encourages people to visit to learn more about serving their communities as an emergency medical technician or as a member of the Medical Reserve Corps.

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