Several members of Parkland Ambulance to be honored at EMS provincial awards

Photo courtesy of the Parkland Ambulance website.

Nearly two years after the events at James Smith Cree Nation, members of Parkland Ambulance are receiving recognition for the work of being first responders on the tragic day.

Two members of Parkland Ambulance and a team of first responders will be given the Saskatchewan Star of Life Award for the work done near James Smith Cree Nation in 2022.

Jill Stefanick is the operations manager for medical communications in the north for Parkland Ambulance.

Stefanick says all those involved feel grief for the James Smith community as a result of the tragedy, but still have to get their job done.

“I think that just the events of that day will never be forgotten, but neither will the extraordinary efforts and teamwork from everyone involved in EMS. I think that’s important to note as well. These tragedies strike these communities and as with everyone, we all feel that with them, but we still have that job to do and we’re able to get it done.”

On the individual front, Chris Pacey and Eden Shirley will receive the Saskatchewan Star of Life Award for their contributions on that day.

A team of first responders from Parkland Ambulance will also receive the Saskatchewan Star of Life Award in the team category. Patrick Bellisle, Seth Helm, Erica Hnidek, Jenna Illerbrun, Brandon Leslie, Timothy May, Sherri Morrison, Justin Reichle and Sarah Soloducha will all receive recognition for their work.

The Star of Life Award is in recognition for outstanding achievements, dedication or leadership in EMS. It can be awarded for acts of bravery, heroism or anything above and beyond the call of duty. Each recipient will receive a medal and certificate.

Stefanick says it was an honor for the Parkland Ambulance staff to receive recognition at a provincial level for the work they have done.

“I’m very proud to be recognized for our team for the outstanding work that was done on that tragic day. The teamwork involved coordinating all the paramedics and ambulances was no small feat so it’s very humbling to be honored for the work we do.”

“We’re very proud of the work that everyone does in EMS every day, but to be recognized at the provincial level for the work that we did in another one of these large-scale events that thankfully don’t happen very often, the last one being the Humboldt bus crash, but it’s something we’re always trained and prepared for these unfortunate events to occur, so to be recognized is just very humbling for our staff and our team.“

Stefanick says in a large-scale event such as the James Smith tragedy, it becomes an all hands on deck situation for first responders.

“We have very strict protocols and procedures that we follow, especially with events that have the potential to be a large-scale event and we practice these as well. The staff are well aware and they know what needs to be done and in what order and includes extra staff being called in to help on their days off or management, notification of large amounts of staff and large amounts of hospitals and it’s just really a massive coordination effort that starts in these events.”

The 2024 EMS Provincial Awards are on Thursday May 23 at the Government House in Regina. The awards begin at 2 p.m.