The Emergency Medical Services program head at Rappahannock Community College, Ellen Vest, was honored by the Peninsulas EMS Council yesterday at the Glenns Campus. PEMS presented Vest with two awards, one for her 20-plus years of service to the community, and a second for her “Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety” for 2017.
The mission of the PEMS organization is to “assist local emergency medical services” and to “plan and implement an efficient and effective regional emergency medical services delivery system” in partnership with other groups. PEMS serves the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, and Virginia Peninsula as well.
Michael Player, the Executive Director of PEMS, presented these awards at the college because she had not been able to attend an earlier PEMS Awards event. Player noted that she is the only person to whom PEMS has been given two awards in one year.
“The Peninsulas EMS Council’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team has been serving the region’s EMS providers since the mid-1980’s — and Ellen Vest has been a member of that team since 1996, and has been its Administrative Coordinator for the last decade,” said Player.
Vest labored to establish regional and statewide standards and mutual aid relationships; and, worked with national and international organizations to obtain formal credentialing. In 2016, she spearheaded a project, which rewrote many of the PEMS policy and procedures which used the best practices learned from three decades of service.
“Ellen has been driven to seek further education for herself and has insisted on the highest standards for team training and performance as well,” said Player.
“We are lucky to have Ellen,” said Charles Smith, dean of RCC’s Heath Sciences division. “She brings a passion for teaching the science and art of Emergency Medical Services. Everyone she encounters, from her students to her EMS and Fire Service colleagues, recognizes her as a consummate professional.”
For Vest, earning recognition for her dedication and hard work on behalf of RCC and the field of Emergency Medical Services, in general, is not new. In 2015, she qualified as a Nationally Certified EMS Educator. At that time, John Todaro, president of the National Association of Emergency Medical Services Educators, said that Vest is “one of a group of dedicated professionals who continuously strive for excellence.”