Post EMS earns top region award
Phillip Smith, a paramedic, checks the pulse of SFC Barry Dailey, MEDDAC, May 18.

After 50 years of serving Fort Benning, the post's Emergency Medical Services has been recognized at the regional level for the first time. Representatives from the West Central Georgia Region 7 EMS council named Fort Benning EMS the region's EMS of the Year for 2009.

Fort Benning EMS was selected from among 20 emergency medical services in a 13-county area. Award criteria included response times, community involvement and service projects and participation in regional and statewide EMS boards and councils.

Dee Dunford, chief of Fort Benning EMS, credits the paramedics' dedication with helping them earn the award. "Their dedication to the community and the level of care provided is the best I've seen in the 20 years I've been in emergency medical services," he said. "Their commitment to service is (great). If someone's out sick or on vacation, they step up and make sure we have the manning to handle the call volume.

Their (medical) knowledge is strong. I would say they go above and beyond every day." Fort Benning's paramedics are present in the community to help with more than just medical emergencies. Dunford said paramedics handed out coloring books and crayons to children being treated at Martin Army Community Hospital, and visit schools to talk to children about safety.

EMS also provides paramedics for programs of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, such as Oktoberfest and Salute to the South. Fort Benning EMS plays a different role than civilian emergency services because they support training, Dunford said.

Paramedics are required to be on hand for some types of nighttime training exercises, as well as training on high-caliber weapons. For many of Fort Benning's paramedics, of whom more than half are former service members, EMS provides a way to continue serving their country.

"Sometimes I miss being in the military, but I like the fact that I can help Soldiers and their family members," said paramedic Michael Good, a former Army sergeant who served nine years as a medic. "That's one of the true benefits of being out here."

Providing top-notch EMS services helps deployed Soldiers better perform their missions because they know their families are taken care of, Dunford said. "It's a confidence builder for those troops," he said.

Page last updated Fri May 29th, 2009 at 14:55