Parkland Ambulance award recipients surprised and humbled by recognition

(From left to right) Rookie of the Year Kolby Ellis, Telecommunicator of the Year Jessica Masserey and Employee of the Year Marissa Nyberg pose after the Parkland Ambulance awards presentation on Dec. 6, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“Work is my escape. It’s where my people are, my second family. They’re the ones who help me through.” – Marissa Nyberg

Parkland Ambulance handed out its 2019 awards at its annual Christmas party on Friday evening.

Director of Public Affairs Lyle Karasiuk said management doesn’t cast a vote in who wins Rookie, Employee and Telecommunicator of the Year. The recipients are chosen entirely by staff to show appreciation for their colleagues.

Rookie of the Year: Kolby Ellis

Out of the 32 votes for the standout rookie, primary care paramedic (PCP) Kolby Ellis received 25 of them.

“I’m super surprised by that honestly. I feel like I get along really well with everybody that I work with here, but it’s still such a huge surprise. It’s amazing to think that everyone thought I deserved something like this,” she said after the awards presentation.

Rookie of the Year acknowledges an employee who’s been at Parkland for two years or less. Ellis said she’s been there for about a year and seven months, kickstarting her career there on practicum.

A common theme of the comments submitted about the employees was the ability to be kind and caring in stressful situations.

“She’s always willing to learn and to excel at her job,” “She always has a good attitude and does not complain even when she’s been called in for a long time,” and “A joy to work with at all times, even at four in the morning off no sleep,” said other employees about Ellis.

She explained how she felt when she first started working as a paramedic.

“I was really nervous about all the things that I was going to have to see and learn, but it just kind of comes with the job. Everyone teaches you a lot. You always have a good partner, that’s one thing I don’t ever have to worry about is having a good partner with me all of the time. That really just puts me at ease,” said Ellis.

“(There’s) such a huge bond. I feel like just in the last year I’ve gotten to know people so much more.”

Parkland Ambulance Director of Operations Jordan Ambrose hugs Rookie of the Year Kolby Ellis at the awards presentation on Dec. 6, 2019. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Employee of the Year: Marissa Nyberg

PCP Marissa Nyberg won Employee of the Year with 11 votes, although 14 others received at least one.

“(It) is pretty unbelievable considering how many great people work here and that anyone of them could have won,” she said.

“I’ve only been here for five and a half years and there’s people that have been here so much longer.”

One comment about Nyberg said “I’ve never seen anyone more motivated to see that everything is done properly and on time, even is that time is 7 a.m. and you just ran 10 calls that night.” Another said “Someone that is trusted to handle responsibility during the shifts beyond the basic requirements of shift work.”

Nyberg said people often stay home from work when they’re feeling stressed—she’s the opposite.

“Work is my escape. It’s where my people are, my second family. They’re the ones who help me through,” she emphasized. “Just going to work to get my mind off of it and help somebody else that needs help, it means a lot that I get to do that every day.”

Telecommunicator of the Year: Jessica Masserey

Telecommunicator of the Year was awarded to Jessica Masserey, who started at Parkland as a PCP. After three years, she started working in communications.

“After 11 years, you don’t think that people may notice because you’ve been here forever. I was just shocked and surprised and excited,” said Masserey. “It was very heartwarming that people think that about you after that many years.”

“We do everything together; we go through life together.”

One person who voted for her wrote “Always friendly and kind and takes charge when she needs to.” Another comment said “Always pleasant to work with all hours. She’s calm even when they’re busy and she’s reliable getting to the information you need to get somewhere and in a timely matter.”

Speaking to the Daily Herald after the awards presentation, Karasiuk noted the special bond he sees within the staff.

“At the end of the day, you and your partner are it when there’s something really bad happening, and they rely on each other to get through the tough calls, through the difficult situations,” he said.

“They’re there for each other through thick and through thin.”

Management also handed out awards for anniversaries, the most thank yous and volunteer hours. Since 2002, Parkland Ambulance has donated $1,106,827.00 through volunteering at community events such as Raiders games, Meals on Wheels and the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program.