Guelph, Ont., September 21, 2016 – On September 16, the Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service (GWPS) hosted its third annual celebration and awards dinner at Guelph’s River Run Centre.
During the evening, GWPS presented a certificate recognizing primary care paramedic Whipper Watson as a recipient of the Governor General Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal. This honour was awarded to Watson for performing his duties to the public in an exemplary manner, characterized by the highest standards of good conduct, industry and efficiency. Watson will receive his medal from Honorary Lieutenant General Richard Rohmer at the Ontario Paramedic Chiefs Association gala being held later this month in Collingwood.
Seventeen paramedics were recognized for their years of service to the community ranging from five to 30 years. Dr. Gina Agarwal, Kathy Brown, and community paramedics were acknowledged for their contributions to the Community Health Assessment program—community clinics that provide health services to low income seniors. The program is part of the Community Paramedicine initiative.
For a number of years, members of the GWPS have participated in the annual Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart fundraiser. Funds raised are used to purchase defibrillators that are in turn donated to organizations throughout the community to ensure greater public access to defibrillators.
This year, the 2015 GWPS Ride for Heart bike team presented defibrillators to Maryborough Community Centre, the University of Guelph, John McCrae Public School, where a student experienced a cardiac arrest last year, and to the City’s Operations department, located at 50 Municipal St., in memory of Rod Keller, general manager of Operations.
Colleen Clack, deputy CAO Public Services, joined Keller’s wife, Laura, to accept the defibrillator on behalf of the City’s Operations department.
“For Rod, the health and safety of his staff was top priority. So it should come as no surprise that it was one of his employees who identified 50 Municipal St. as a potential defibrillator location. Receiving a defibrillator from our paramedic service is a way to honour our friend and colleague and ensure his safety message continues,” Clack said.
The GWPS Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program has more than 210 PADs throughout Guelph and Wellington County. PADS can be found at public venues, community centres, hockey arenas, and in most schools.
“We believe that providing defibrillators in public spaces will save lives. Research shows that victims of cardiac arrest have the best chance of survival when there is early access to CPR and defibrillation,” said Leanne Swantko, deputy chief, Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service.
Each year at the celebration, paramedics host an informal fundraiser to raise funds for a charity or cause. This year, $1,200 was raised for CAMP F.A.C.E.S.—a summer camp for children and families of emergency services following a line of duty death or suicide.
About Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service:
Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service provides ambulance services to Guelph and Wellington county residents. With a staff of more than 150 part- and full-time paramedics and a fleet of 12 ambulances and emergency response vehicles, GWPS responds annually to about 20,000 calls for medical assistance. To learn more, visit guelph.ca/paramedic.