Parkland Ambulance honours standout members of 2018

(L to R) Employee of the Year, Brendin St. Amand, Telecommunicator of the Year, Betty Lussier and Rookie of the Year, Avery Culbertson. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

This year’s Parkland Ambulance awards recipients say team work, compassion and recognition are important in what can be a stressful job.

Three Parkland Ambulance awards recipients are saying their annual acknowledgments strengthen their appreciation for each other.

At the end of each year, Parkland hands out awards to acknowledge a standout employee, rookie and telecommunicator.

The recipients are entirely chosen by the employees, with each one casting a vote and explaining why they feel that person should get the award.

Rookie of the Year, Primary Care Paramedic Avery Culbertson, said it’s important to discuss each other’s strengths.

The award acknowledges someone who’s been with Parkland for two years or less. Culbertson joined the team just under a year ago.

One of his nominators said he “doesn’t get excited in stressful situations.”

“(It) can definitely blur what you want to do…It’s a combination of staying calm, but also being quick enough to do what you have to do and talking slowly through it, talking with your partner and discussing what you’ve got to do next,” he said, emphasizing he wouldn’t be able to do the job without his team’s support.

“It feels good knowing that people appreciate the dedication, the hard work I put in and the attitude I have.”

Primary Care Paramedic Brendin St. Amand, a seven-year member who got Employee of the Year, said he holds a high importance to being compassionate with patients—one reason he received the award.

Even if a patient isn’t cooperating, he explained, he’s still understanding.

“It’s kind of like their worst day. Obviously there’s something going on with them if (they’re) either emotional, if they’re sick, then you kind of just need to take a step back and don’t attack them,” said St. Amand.

He added the reason he’s a paramedic is to make a difference in people’s lives.

Betty Lussier, who’s been with Parkland for five years, received Telecommunicator of the Year.

“I was actually very shocked, very surprised. I felt really honoured just to be recognized by the peers,” she said.

“I really strive to do my best and make sure to treat everyone with respect, the way I would want to be treated. I always try to recognize and appreciate everyone. Everyone up there deserves it, to be honest. We’re all a team up there and I think everyone does an outstanding job.”

It wasn’t the only award Lussier received this year.

She was one of Parkland’s six emergency medical dispatchers (EMD) honoured with a national award for their work during the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash—the same reason the team also received the President’s Award.

“We often forget about the team behind the door in our telecommunication centre. They are a critical element in any emergency response,” said a news release.

Management present the awards at Parkland’s Christmas party, although they have no vote towards who gets them.