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Tag: CO

Jason Burns

Jason Burn’s exemplary service helped save the life of a patient who was critically injured during a hike and, as a result of injuries sustained, suffered cardiac arrest.

The incident happened in mid-May 2022, when Jason and Flight Nurse Jesse Mascarenas risked their own safety to help the patient who fell 200 feet down a mountain slope in cold and rainy weather. Jason and Jesse were able to stabilize the patient until he could be flown to the nearest Level I trauma center.

While the patient lost one leg the next day, the individual made excellent progress in regaining his neurological function. Today, thanks to the intervention provided by Jason and Jesse, the patient is working towards a full recovery, even exercising on a prosthetic leg.

Jesse Mascarenas

Jesse Mascarenas proved to be a true hero when he helped save a critically injured hiker at the risk of his own safety. In May of 2022, Jesse and his partner, Flight Medic Jason Burns, responded to a call to help the hiker, who fell 200 feet down a mountain slope in cold and rainy weather. The patient was severely hurt and suffered cardiac arrest while Jason and Jesse were treating and rescuing him.

The two EMS professionals were eventually able to stabilize the patient until the individual could be flown to the nearest Level I trauma center. Although the patient lost a leg, the individual today is working toward a full recovery, even exercising on a prosthetic leg.

Jessica Van Der Merwe

During a recent family vacation, Paramedic Jessica Van Der Merwe was exploring the streets of the Bahamas on a moped. As she rode, she witnessed a vehicle crash at a high rate of speed; it subsequently rolled and caught on fire. Noticing that the flaming vehicle was leaking fuel and poised to explode, Jessica swiftly alerted nearby people to move away, hoping to prevent further injuries. Moments later, the vehicle exploded.

Inside the sedan were a father, mother, and teenage girl. Without the immediate and brave actions of Jessica and other volunteers, the family would have perished. These rescuers managed to extricate the family through the missing back window, immobilize them using makeshift materials such as a piece of wood and a door (in lieu of a backboard), and provide triage and treatment until the ambulances arrived.

When the ambulances reached the scene, the injured were lifted over a retaining wall to facilitate their transport. Recognizing the severity of the teenage girl’s injuries, Jessica aided the ambulance crew in loading her. She then addressed the girl’s compromised airway, which was due to a fractured jaw, prioritizing her immediate transport to a suitable hospital. Throughout this, Jessica also had to manage the scene, informing bystanders that some of her necessary medical interventions might be distressing to watch. Furthermore, she dealt with the intoxicated driver of the crashed vehicle, who became a hindrance to his family’s care.

After a seemingly endless wait, a third ambulance arrived to transport all the family members to the hospital. With the family safely on their way, Jessica and her own family resumed their moped journey. Now in the dark and facing the added challenges of no headlights and being chased by local dogs who weren’t thrilled to see them out at night, they were fortunate to be escorted safely home by compassionate locals. There, they could finally reflect on the day’s dramatic events and get some much-needed rest.

Holly Griswold

Holly Griswold started her career in the EMS industry in May 2010. She accepted a position as a Para-transit driver with Arizona Ambulance Transport. During this role she attended the EMT program. After completion and successfully passing, she wasted no time in branching out into other areas of Arizona Ambulance to gain experience within the operation of the company. She took on the role of Event Organizer, facilitating both company and community events.

Within that first year, she proved her eagerness and dedication of her role and was offered another position as Field Training Officer. She quickly excelled in this role, proving to be one of the company’s top Field Training Officers. Holly’s ability to train new providers, both experienced and brand new, has been an integral part of our day-to-day operations. This level of performance and commitment earned Holly the Shining Star Award in early 2012.

In early 2014, Holly was the recipient of the Employee of the Year Award. Following this award, she was promoted to Operations Supervisor. In addition to her new supervisor role, she also accepted the role of Scheduling Coordinator. Holly accepting this role was proven to be very fitting and beneficial to Arizona Ambulance and its employees.

While she worked 24hr shifts on a ¾ schedule on the Critical Care Nurse Unit, she continued and continues to this day to make herself available to the employees 24/7-365. When an area hospital closed in 2015 without notice, Holly was able to reconfigure the schedule in a way that saved the jobs of all the employees who worked out of that area, with a deadline of fewer than 24 hours. She did this once again in 2017 when a major government contract we held was not put up for an RFP. In this event, she worked tirelessly to save the 16 jobs that would have otherwise been lost.

Holly continues to branch out and work in all areas that are available to her. During her 12 years, she worked a majority of those on the CCT unit and obtained certifications that her level of service would allow, amongst these areas she is also part of the Disaster Response Team and trains to maintain her red card for the Wildland Fire Team.

If you need something done or simply need help with a task, Holly is and always has been the “go-to” to get it done. She has earned and is unquestionably very deserving of the Star of Life award. Arizona Ambulance Transport is lucky to have her on our team.

Mario Vialpando

Mario Vialpando is being honored for exhibiting exceptional patient care during several critical, high-profile calls. Mario is described as a “team player” who always goes the extra mile in his duties, and is praised for his skill and his willingness to offer extra help when the situation calls for it.

In one incident, Mario saved a twenty-two-year-old man who had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his lower right jaw. The young man, who was bleeding profusely, was on the roof of an apartment building and was in excruciating pain. Through Mario’s medical expertise and serene composure, the man was safely extricated and transported to a facility where he received further life-saving care. This is just one example of the passion and command of knowledge that drives Mario to do his job so well.

Likewise, Mario cares for the well-being of his coworkers just as he cares for his patients. Mario is a staunch supporter of his colleagues’ mental health. He openly gives out his phone number to coworkers, encouraging them to call him if they want to talk or have something heavy on their minds.

Mario also mentors new EMTs and Medics, while fostering a healthy and safe learning environment for them. He is known for always being kind and courteous to everyone he meets.

Matthew Moreno

Matthew Troy Moreno had a heart of gold and lived to serve other people.

While serving as a full-time Deputy Sheriff in our county, Matt decided to volunteer as a firefighter. Matt spent hours training and rose to the rank of Captain. Even that wasn’t enough for Matt: despite his other commitments, he then also elected to become an EMT. He sailed through training, and soon became a part-time employee with the Trinidad Ambulance District. Matt always kept medical gear in his police patrol unit and frequently responded to medical emergencies, often arriving long before the ambulance. Matt was a true public servant.

Matt was also known for his sense of humor and his hilarious practical jokes. He was truly one of a kind.

On the night of December 12, 2018 Matt responded to a domestic disturbance call. While en route, he was struck head-on by a drug and alcohol impaired driver, who was travelling at 96 mph. Tragically, he did not survive. The Trinidad Ambulance District asks that Matt be recognized posthumously for his exceptional public service.

Matt is survived by his father, Ed Moreno (JoAnn); mother, Christine Dagnillo; daughters, Summer Moreno and Morgan Moreno; son, Jared Klipfel; ex-wife, Eva Moreno; sister, Karli (Casey) Michael; nephews, Kaleb Hargraves USMC, Gavin Hargraves, Ayden Michael; nieces, Maddie Michael and Kimber Michael; and girlfriend, Niccole Cordova.

Law enforcement, fire service, EMS; Matt selflessly served our community in every capacity. Matt is greatly missed, and we are all deeply saddened by his passing. Rest easy, brother. We’ll take it from here.

David DeTray

David DeTray, or “Bubba” as he is known in Trinidad, is Trinidad Ambulance District’s most senior employee. David is proud to have dedicated over 15 years of service to our community.

In addition to his work as a Paramedic, David is also a Fire Chief, a member of our Rescue Task Force, and our driving instructor. David is one of the most compassionate and caring Paramedics you will ever meet. His sense of humor is without equal, and he is quick to share a joke with his patients, colleagues, and hospital staff.

David has spent many years as an ALS provider at the Intermediate level. David wanted to earn his Paramedic certification, but there were many obstacles to doing so, not the least of which was that the closest Paramedic school was three hours away in Denver. Despite serving as the Fire Chief for a fire district in our neighboring county and on top of his full-time schedule with Trinidad, David sacrificed so that our community could have another much needed Paramedic in our ranks.

This dedication to providing high-quality mobile healthcare to his community makes Trinidad Ambulance District proud to call David DeTray a Star of Life.

Anthony Yarnal

Anthony has worked for Air Ambulance Specialists (AASI) for the past eight years as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and Paramedic. His role as a Flight RRT/EMTP has expanded into training and medical coordination. Anthony’s knowledge and training style is invaluable to both AASI and AMR Air Hawaii. He is always there to answer difficult questions. Anthony became a Paramedic in 1984 and a RRT in 1986. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine and an Associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy. His RRT/EMTP experience includes working at many top-level hospitals including Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA; Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, LA; and Dartmouth Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. He joined AASI with 18 years of flight experience in both the rotor and fixed-wing environments. Anthony has also been a member of several specialty transport teams. Anthony is an outdoor sportsman including an accomplished skier, runner, and climber and he enjoys several other sports.”

Leslie Reindollar

Leslie Reindollar is a paramedic with AMR in Pueblo, Colo. One of the calls she ran last year epitomizes her compassion for the care of others: A young child was seriously burned. The family was not immediately available to accompany the child and provide comfort. While Leslie treated the patient clinically, she also showed great compassion for the injured and scared child. As she continued medical care, she was also able to lie alongside the patient and provide the much-needed human touch for the child. Leslie radiates warmth, humility and kindness as she serves others and always expresses appreciation to others for their efforts. Leslie is the Clinical and Education Services Specialist for two operations, and she also serves her community as a paramedic and licensed practical nurse. She is a certified instructor for ACLS, PALS, ITLS and CPR. Leslie is also a member of AMR’s Disaster Response Team and has deployed several times, the most recent to help in Boulder County after the floods in September 2013.”

Deonarine Balliram

Deonarine joined Global Medical Response of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (GMRTT) in 2005 as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Every day he demonstrates his commitment and expertise as an Emergency Medical Technician as he sets the standard for the organization. Deonarine is currently an EMT Preceptor and is responsible for the training and development of newly certified EMTs. This program nurtures skills, offers professional guidance and ensures clinical expectations among staff are met and helps provides customer service skills. This new role revealed Deonarine’s gift as a gifted teacher and role model. Deonarine was active in the 2013 World AMR Compression Only CPR Challenge, and since the event he has been conducting CPR training to communities, schools and non-profit organizations on a voluntary basis. He is currently finalizing his CPR Instructor Certification with the National Safety Council and is in the process of pursuing the American Heart Association First Aid & CPR Instructor Certification. In addition to being a full time, nationally-registered EMT, Deonarine has also been a lifeguard with the Trinidad and Tobago Lifeguard Service for the past 10 years. When he is not working for GMRTT, Deonarine spends his weekends and holidays protecting the beaches of Trinidad. He is also a Lifeguard Training Instructor for both swimming pool and open waters. Deonarine has received the Trinidad & Tobago Life Saving Society’s Award of Merit and Bronze Medallion. Deonarine is also a certified aerobics and fitness instructor and provides fitness training and instruction voluntarily in his community. Deonarine is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Reserve. Deonarine is a husband and father of four. He is described as a humble, outgoing individual and contributes in any way he can to his co-workers, his community, and even patients and their relatives. Deonarine says he loves swimming, fishing, cycling, running, basketball and working out in the gym.”

Lindsey Duff

Lindsey Duff consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty. She often volunteers on missions during her off-time, some of which take Lindsey away from home for days or weeks at a time. One of these volunteer missions was a very complex bariatric transport to the Middle East. No other company had the resources to complete this mission. Lindsey was responsible not just for patient care, but also for the wellbeing of another medical crew member who became seriously ill during the lengthy transport.

During AMR Air Ambulance’s more than four-month FEMA deployment to the U.S. Virgin Islands for Hurricane Irma and Maria relief, Lindsey spent six weeks on duty with just two breaks, each lasting less than a week. Lindsey voluntarily sacrificed her personal time as well as the holiday season to support the Virgin Islands community. Lindsey is truly a selfless and loyal Flight Nurse who facilitated challenging patient evacuations while living in sub-optimal conditions in a post-disaster zone.

Lindsey received positive recognition from other Air Medical programs for her energetic and “can do” attitude, and represented our organization with honor. AMR Air Ambulance is extremely proud to have Lindsey represent our organization as a 2018 Star of Life!


Robert Bukovac

Rob is the best of what this country has to offer. He exemplifies the characteristics of a true public servant.

Rob risked his life to defend freedom as a United States Marine, then again as a firefighter and police officer. Now, Rob is saving lives as a Paramedic here at Trinidad Ambulance District. He also serves as our county’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.

Rob is an incredibly intelligent individual with a phenomenal sense of humor. He is affectionately known as our “encyclopedia.”

We are proud and honored to have Rob as a teammate at the Trinidad Ambulance District.


Deborah Rath

From the greatest tragedy rose the inspiration known as Deborah Rath.

In 2004, Debbi’s teenage son was killed by a drunk driver. Debbi arrived at the scene of the fatal accident shortly after it happened; instead of turning away from the tragedy, Debbi decided to lean in and has dedicated her time to drunk driving prevention programs and other community efforts.

Debbi is a regular speaker for the Every 15 Minutes and Mothers Against Drunk Driving programs. She also donates her time to a non-profit organization that provides funeral services for abandoned newborns.

Last year, Debbi was honored by the Sonoma County Paramedic Association for her part in a cardiac arrest save. She was also part of an AMR team sent last year to Trinidad and Tobago to provide ALS pre-hospital instruction to Global Medical Response crews.

Kira Gressman

Before joining the American Medical Response family two years ago, Kira worked in the public health sector. In fact, Kira continues to volunteer today with county-based HIV prevention and syringe exchange programs. Kira seeks to improve the quality and standard of health care provided in her community by bridging EMS, public health, education, and health policy. Kira is working toward realizing her goal of becoming a physician.

Frustration over an inability to meet patients’ unique needs drove EMT Kira Gressman to action. Kira devoted her own time to researching available community resources for people with socioeconomic needs. Kira then planned and gave a detailed presentation to her co-workers on the various social services to which patients could be referred. Kira also created and distributed referral cards to help team members link patients to appropriate resources.

Peter Hastings

Peter Hastings has had several different roles, including vehicle service technician, EMT, and Paramedic, during his 15-year career. Today, Pete serves as an Operations Supervisor in AMR’s Stanislaus County operation. Pete is an active participant in a pilot project designed to help Paramedics to assess psychiatric patients in the field and route them for further care.

On April 8, 2016, Pete played the role of neighborhood hero. Pete was at home working in his garage when heard a scream come from a nearby home. Pete investigated and found a one-year-old girl floating lifeless in a backyard pool; the scream had come from the child’s terrified grandmother. Pete jumped into the pool to rescue the girl. Pete checked for vital signs and then began CPR. When responders arrived, the girl was awake and breathing. Pete’s young neighbor made a full recovery and suffered no neurological deficits.

Lynn Flores

Lynn Flores is known for being highly prudent in her decision-making, passionate about her work, and deeply caring. An enthusiastic EMS professional, Lynn consistently seeks opportunities to drive improvement.

This February, EMT-Intermediate Lynn Flores and her partner noticed something strange on their way back to base: a man was on the shoulder of the highway, hitting a limp baby across the back. Lynn immediately pulled over and rushed to help the family. Lynn and her partner took turns giving the baby back blows until the obstruction was dislodged from his throat. Lynn and her partner transported the baby to the hospital, where he made a full recovery.

A local news station learned about the rescue and recognized Lynn and her partner in one of its “Pay It 4ward” segments. Each person featured receives $400 from the station, which the recipient gives to a charity of their choice. Lynn donated her $400 to Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital.

Tracy Allen

Critical Care Paramedic Tracy Allen has spent the last decade of her life caring for other people’s loved ones. In August 2016, Tracy faced the heart-wrenching challenge of caring for members of her own EMS family.

Tracy, fellow Star of Life Honoree Theresa Hartman, and their partners responded last summer to a head-on crash involving an AMR ambulance in which two paramedics were injured. Tracy took command of the scene and provided expert care to her most critically injured colleague. Later, Tracy and Theresa volunteered to transfer their colleague from the initial receiving hospital to a higher-level trauma center.

During her teammates’ long recovery process, Tracy was a beacon at local events benefiting the two. Tracy’s colleagues say that this specific case was just one notable incident in a career marked by sacrifice, advocacy, and a commitment to quality patient care.

Gabe Moreno

Gabe is an accomplished Medic and an amazing leader. Gabe is a Tactical Medic and is on Trinidad Ambulance District’s Rescue Task Force. In addition to being a full-time employee with the Trinidad Ambulance District, Gabe is a dedicated community servant, serving as second in command at a local volunteer fire department. Gabe is also a sworn member of the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office where he frequently rides patrol shifts.

Gabe’s dedication to public safety is what makes him a Star of Life. Gabe puts his life on the line every day for EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement, in order to make his community safer and a better place to live. 

Robert Good

With more than 22 years at AMR, Robert’s leadership has shone during some of the most challenging events in his community’s recent history.

During the Waldo Canon Fire in 2012, Robert was one of the first units on the scene at the Mount St. Francis Nursing Facility. As the Field Supervisor, he determined the facility needed to be evacuated and quickly implemented a plan. His quick thinking and actions contributed to a successful evacuation and ultimately saved many lives.

On November 27, 2015, Robert coordinated with both fire and police personnel during the Planned Parenthood shooting, an incident that lasted more than six hours. His leadership ensured the treatment and transport of 12 victims.

Robert is now using his knowledge and experience from these difficult events to begin implementation of tactical EMS deployment in Colorado Springs and throughout the region.

Julia Spring

Julia Spring, Chief Flight Nurse, is receiving the Star of Life award for her continued selfless leadership of the AMR Air Clinical Operations. Julia has spent the last 30 years in the flight medicine world and has been with AMR Air since its inception in 2002. Her work this year to ensure that the organization achieved reaccreditation as a CAMTS operator was a testament to her dedication to the quality and safety of patient care and operations. Additionally, due in large part to Julia’s efforts, AMR was able to add neonatal transports to the level of service provided. Julia leads the clinical operations of AMR Air and AMR Air Hawaii, which are the highest practicing critical care level of prehospital medicine for AMR.