Rappahannock Community College’s Ellen Vest may have to make room for more awards to get a new shelf.
On November 11, Vest was presented with the 2017 Governor’s Emergency Medical Services Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety at a ceremony in Richmond.
Vest is the program head of RCC’s Emergency Medical Services program, and this award marks yet another achievement in her career. Back in June of this year, Vest was recognized by the Peninsulas EMS Council (PEMS) for her contributions. That was a regional award, while the November 11 honor was a state-wide recognition.
One might think that Vest earned this award due to her stellar instruction and mastery of the course material, but that is not the case — though she has won a teaching honor twice before.
She was recognized, this time, because of her volunteer work for the Critical Incident Stress Management group, which is a team that operates with PEMS to respond to the mental health needs of first responders and providers.
“If you can imagine what a ‘bad’ 911 call might be,” says Vest, “then imagine a really bad call. It takes one of those ‘bad calls’ for fire fighters and EMS folks to be affected.”
Should something “bad” happen throughout the Middle Peninsula or surrounding region, Vest and the team would set up a peer group to provide support to those who responded to the scene.
“We’d also give them information on how to handle the next few days as they are working through the trauma of it,” says Vest. From there, the team could also recommend treatment options afterward.
All of the recent accolades, to Vest, this one is a confirmation of her hard work through the years.
“It was recognition for something that not everybody can do,” she says.
Dr. Charles Smith, who accompanied Vest to the ceremony and serves RCC as the Dean of Health Sciences, echoed what many said at the ceremony.
“It’s no surprise that she won this award,” says Smith. “It all has to do with her interventions for crisis situations, and she demonstrates that day in and day out with her passion. She is very deserving, and it’s a great honor for her.”
Vest and her Emergency Medical Services teaching team at RCC are currently preparing for Spring 2018 semester, which begins on January 15, 2018.