Priority Ambulance Family of Companies highlights team members who “Rise to the Challenge”

May 21, 2022

Happy EMS Week! This year’s national theme is “Rising to the Challenge” – a fitting theme that demonstrates how our team and our industry continues to pull together to serve our patients, communities and each other in the face of change.

We asked our national family to nominate their peers who exemplify rising above challenges. Their stories are highlighted below.

Bethany Garner, Paramedic – National EMS – Conyers, GA

“Before I started working with Bethany, I questioned if I liked my job as much as I thought I would. Since working with her, through the good and the bad, the rough and the tough of calls, we have made an excellent team that has formed the best friendship. Your partner at work can make or break the day, we go through it on a shiftly basis; from being up all day and night running calls, to pushing each other to do better and be better, having a good partner matters! We cut up and laugh, joke around and have fun but when it comes down to patient care and helping other, we are serious and get to work without hesitation.

Specifically, we recently had a rough call involving a very premature birth. Bethany rose to the challenge and put her own emotions aside to hold the baby the entire transport to the hospital. As difficult as this call was in the middle of the night, Bethany still managed to hold herself together to run one last call before the shift ended. Bethany was a real-life superhero. Furthermore, she checked up on myself and all the firefighters involved with the call in the next few days. Bethany is truly a great medic and rises to the challenge every single shift.”

Shelia Norton and Adrianna Kribbs, Paramedic / AEMT – Puckett EMS – Cobb County, GA

“Adrianna and Shelia have been partners for almost two years and we all know our partners become family.

Adrianna’s Mom, Kellie, was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 47 and passed away less than a year of being diagnosed. Adrianna would work a long shift, go home sleep for a little bit and take her mom 45 mins from home for her chemo and never missed work or had an ill attitude while on shift.

While Kellie was going through treatment, her friends and family held an auction to help raise funds for gas and miscellaneous expenses. Shelia and her family donated several items to be auctioned.

While Kellie was going through chemo treatments she would always say “I wish there was more wheelchairs at this place” to help folks get back in and out of the treatment center easier while they were feeling weak.

When Kellie passed, there was some money left over from the auction so Adrianna took that money and purchased three wheelchairs and donated them to the treatment center. Shelia decorated them in Kellie’s honor.

Adrianna since losing her mom is also giving back to Amedisys Hospice who helped care for her mom by working there as well. Both Adrianna and Shelia are a great asset to our company and community.”

Anthony Arrigo, Paramedic Supervisor, & Daniel Gigliotti, EMT – Kunkel Ambulance – Utica, NY

“It was a dark rainy evening in Upstate NY. I left work and had to run to the store. Upon entering the parking lot, I came to a stop to let an older woman cross. While stopped another car came driving up, never saw the pedestrian, and hit her. She fell to the ground, in obvious shock and pain where the car had clipped her. I immediately called Kunkel and told them what had happened. I got out of my vehicle, ran to the injured woman, and told her help was on the way. I made sure she was as comfortable as could be. Other bystanders wanted to get her off the cold, wet ground, but I knew from previous training NOT to move a patient until she was checked by a medic.

Dan and Anthony arrived within minutes, assessed the injuries, and moved the patient to the ambulance. Because of the location of the scene, parts of the parking lot were blocking other drivers. They honked angrily not caring there was an injured person. Another woman walked up and said she was very upset because she had to walk all the way around and she didn’t want to get hit by a car too.

Anthony asked this woman if she would like him to walk her to her car. This woman’s face softened and said “oh yes”. She took his arm and was safely walked to her car. The kindness and professionalism Dan and Anthony exhibited with the community and patient was remarkable. They made the patient smile and feel more at ease. I am proud to call them my coworkers, even though I work in billing, we were a team that night.”

Mike Hicks, Building & Grounds Manager – LifeCare Medical Transports – Fredericksburg, VA

“Mike Hicks has been a valued employee and friend to LifeCare for over 8 years. Overseeing Building and Grounds at LifeCare’s Corporate Office, Mike is always the friendly face that our crews see.

Over the last several years, Mike has battled cancer. However, without hesitation, he has shown an immense amount of dedication and support to LifeCare. Most recently, Mike has risen to the challenge assisting in bariatric patient transports and assisting crews. His commitment to providing quality patient care is unfounded and truly an inspiration to LifeCare’s team.”

Candace Richey, Paramedic / Supervisor – Medshore Ambulance Service – Anderson County, SC

“Candace Richey is the person that goes above and beyond for every single person she meets. Being a supervisor isn’t easy. Candace is the supervisor that makes things work. Smoothly I might add. When the going gets tough, I know I can count on her for everything and anything. Specifically, I ran a call with Candace that completely shook my world. Nothing I could ever prepare for, something I wish I never would have to do in my career. A pediatric arrest. That call was not easy for anyone who was there. Candace was first on scene, then my crew to arrive. Candace was our leader who I turned to in a time of panic. I received clear and precise instructions on what was required from my crew. I personally watched Candace pour her heart into that call. Every ounce of knowledge she has, every skill she has, every technique she has acquired and every minor detail possible to aid that helpless child. After the call was over and cleared, Candace was there to support her team. A team, including herself, filled with heartache and pain. Candace saw the pain in our eyes and was there to support us. I know I can always count on Candace to help me through anything. They say “teamwork makes the dream work.” I am so glad to have Candace on my team. I couldn’t ask for a better supervisor, team member and friend. With Candace, all things are possible.”

Tracy Kinzle, Scheduler – Central EMS – Roswell, GA

“Tracy Kinzle is the definition of ‘exceeding expectations’. Tracy completes the never-ending labor-intensive process of scheduling overtime, shift swaps, vacations, callouts, out-of-town trips, special events coverage, and does it with a smile on her face.

In addition to the daily grind, Tracy often cooks and brings food, snacks, and drinks for the team. She always makes sure everyone is taken care of in several ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Furthermore, Tracy has claimed the white board in the break room as ‘Grand Inspiration Central’. She writes inspirational quotes on the board that connect with people at their core as she challenges their minds.

Tracy is always willing to pitch in where necessary even though the things she helps with are not even remotely close to her job description. Clovers on St. Patrick’s Day, ugly sweaters at Christmas, non-alcoholic margaritas for Cinco de Mayo, or bunny ears at Easter,

Tracy always brings a smile to those around her. Tracy is that special person that will give you her last dime, feed you when you’re hungry, and get out of the bed in the middle of the night to be there to offer a shoulder to cry on in a time of need. Central EMS is lucky to have her as part of the team because she ‘rises up every day’.”

Tyler Coker and Katrina King, Paramedics – Central EMS – Forsyth County, GA

“Tyler and Katrina are both paramedics and work in the north division running 911 calls for Forsyth. Both are very knowledgeable individuals and are great mentors for new medics like me. Katrina and Tyler have gone through personal obstacles in their life, but they continue to show up to work always giving 100%. They always have a smile on their face.

They both strive every shift to provide the best patient care possible. They attend multiple conferences and symposiums throughout the year to keep their skills up to date. Tyler before becoming a paramedic was EMT of the year for 2020 and 2021. Katrina won a lifesaving award this past year as well. Katrina and Tyler have both recently tested for their flight paramedic license and passed. They are the perfect example of what the face of EMS is about. I am very lucky to have such great coworkers I can approach with any questions I have a question.

The pictures attached are Tyler Coker training me on different functions on the Zoll monitor when I first came to 911. The other picture is Katrina King.”

Shauna Lockett, EMS Dispatcher– Baptist Ambulance – Memphis, TN

“I am a new employee of Priority/Baptist dispatch. I have been here approx. 3.5 weeks; Shauna has been nothing but helpful to me. She also goes above and beyond for the callers that call in; she has showed compassion in ways I hope I can. She makes sure the callers are comfortable and trying to stay calm.”

Reyna Reisner, Dispatcher – Trans Am Ambulance Services – Olean, NY

“Trans Am has an employee persevering through a personal challenge. Reyna Reisner is a 20-year-old dispatcher-call taker & an EMT student that has joined our team recently, she is also a college student at Fredonia University studying for an Education Degree. She was recently diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. We believe that she has risen to the challenge every day this past year. She goes through her daily activities with auditory, and vocal tics, which leads to muscles spasms and craning which are involuntary neck spasms. We chose her because she must overcome these challenges especially at school and in the public eye which could be unnerving. Loud noises set her off, even if people make a noise, she will tic . She manages them with medication and working out physically such as playing rugby, singing, and therapy. She also wears noise canceling headphones which helps. She has the help of her coworkers, friends, and family. She volunteers at her college, and she is studying to be adolescent schoolteacher. She is unstoppable and rises to any challenge. What makes her special is her kind heart and ability to not let Tourette’s stop her. Even when she gets frustrated, she rises to overcome any insecurities. Reyna has a great future ahead and everyone at Trans Am is proud to have her on our team.”

Margaret Hickman, Paramedic – Medshore Ambulance Service – Sumter County, SC

“Margaret Hickman has been in the EMS field for 30 years. She’s been a fantastic paramedic for 8 years now.

She has experienced multiple life changing events for her and her family AFTER receiving her Patch. In spite of that, she managed to push herself each and every time to learn more in depth about the diagnosis’s and medical problems. She didn’t have to force herself to learn about those problems more in depth, but she chose too so she would be able to help any patient she has more.

She has never missed a day of work unless she put several months in advance notice for a vacation. She goes around her work schedule when planning things.

If anybody should be nominated, I personally think it should be her. She is amazing, and will continue to grow with learning new things.”

Bobby Floyd, Shift Lead Paramedic; Jessica Lindsay, Paramedic; Kareem Collier, Operations Supervisor Paramedic; Robin Steele, EMT; Holiann Belton, EMT – Baptist Ambulance – Oxford, MS

“On the night of November 20, 2021, at the Ole Miss vs Vanderbilt football game, a 65-year-old man was found unresponsive just outside the football stadium. Bystanders attempted CPR while another person found one of the Baptist Ambulance EMS crews providing standby service to the game sitting in the ambulance just around the corner and told them about the man down.

Paramedic Kareem Collier and EMT Robin Steele pulled around to take over patient care. During this time, a Baptist Ambulance Oxford 911 unit (Paramedic Bobby Floyd and Paramedic Jessica Lindsey) was also dispatched to the scene along with the University police and Oxford Fire Department.

The man was in cardiac arrest. He received two shocks and one dose of epinephrine before successful resuscitation. He was awake and responding by the time he was loaded to the unit for transport. He was transported by Floyd and Lindsey to Baptist Oxford where he received treatment including having an internal defibrillator placed due to his episodes of ventricular tachycardia. He is home now making a full recovery.

Several of our EMS academy students were able to observe this very rare second chance in life as they were shadowing me and newly licensed EMT Holliann Belton when we responded and assisted with the other crews.”

Pat Gray, Communications Supervisor – LifeCare Medical Transports – Fredericksburg, VA

“Cpl. Pay Gray has been an exceptional part of the LifeCare family since 2015. During her time here at LifeCare she quickly moved up to a supervisor position in our Communications center.

Cpl. Gray has become a mentor to our employees and shows each day the dedication and commitment to great customer service. When employees have been out due to illness or personal issues, she is always the first to give them a call and check on how they are doing. Regardless of her workload, she always puts her team first and shows she truly cares about each of them.

When a communications employee calls out, she without hesitation, steps up and ensures that our customers and providers are well taken care of.”

Melissa Hynson, Dispatcher – LifeCare Medical Transports – Fredericksburg, VA

“Melissa Hynson has been a dispatcher here at LifeCare since 2015. Melissa started her career at LifeCare as a call taker and quickly developed the skills and certifications for become a level 2 dispatcher. At the age of 16 Melissa started her career in EMS with the intention of becoming a nurse. However, when motherhood arrived, Melissa found a new calling in both motherhood and serving her community as a dispatcher.

At LifeCare, Melissa’s main area if responsibility is dispatching out units in our Salem, Danville, and Martinsville area. Her dedication to her team ensures calls are run on time and her crews are prepared for each and every call.”

Don Cargile & the National EMS Team – National EMS – Conyers, GA

“National EMS obtained our CAAS recertification during a pandemic, with critical staffing issues and with no deficiencies! Don has always been our leader for this and does an outstanding job. I do also believe it was very much a team effort, as well with all the staffing shortages and challenges with the pandemic. If that does not show a commitment to our communities and hard work by our core group of staff here at National, then I do not know what does!”

 Trans Am Ambulance Services Team– Olean, NY

“The management team at Trans Am would like to thank and nominate our entire staff for how they rose to the challenges this year and last. Each one of our team members have worked so hard to overcome the challenges of the Covid 19 Pandemic. They tirelessly stepped up their game and provided essential service to our community. Not only are we proud of them we thank every one of them for rising to the challenge.”