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North Country Regional EMS Council Honors Nine with 2023 EMS Awards and Recognition



MAY 9, 2023, Watertown, NY —– At its 22nd Annual Spring Fling EMS Conference on April 27-29, the North Country REMSCO awarded Regional EMS Awards and Recognitions to seven individuals and two EMS agencies. The awards and recognitions were presented at a dinner event on Friday, April 28, by REMSCO Chair Debbie Singleton and Co-chair Mark Deavers. Recipients are as follows:


Regional EMS Awards

  • Advanced Life Support (ALS) Provider of the Year – Joe Martin, AEMT-P (Paramedic)

  • Basic Life Support (BLS) Provider of the Year – Ryan Lafex, EMT-B

  • EMS Agency of the Year – Parishville Volunteer Fire Company

  • EMS Educator of Excellence – David Sherman, AEMT-P (Retired)

  • Physician of Excellence – Maja Lundborg-Gray, MD, Emergency Medicine Physician

  • Registered Nurse of Excellence – Jennifer Castle, RN, MSN, Emergency Department at SMC

  • Youth Provider of the Year – Natalie Waterman, EMT-B, Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service (TIERS)

  • The Richard Beebe Education Award – Gouverneur Rescue


Special Recognitions

The North Country Regional EMS Council also recognized two individuals for their 30+ years of service to EMS in our region.

  • Ann Smith, AEMT-P, Years of Service to North Country Region

  • David Sherman, AEMT-P, Years of Service to North Country Region, Retirement from EMS


Information about award and special recognition recipients can be found below.

“It is an honor and privilege to recognize these individuals who have given unselfishly to help the residents of the North Country,” stated Debbie Singleton, Chair of the North Country Regional EMS Council. “Their professionalism and commitment to Emergency Medical Services is unparalleled and deserves recognition from their peers. These North Country award winners will be forwarded to New York State for consideration for the state awards this October.”


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Jennifer Castle, RN, MSN, 2023 Registered Nurse of Excellence

Jenn has worked at Samaritan Medical Center for 28 years, with the last 24 being in the emergency department. When an EMT enters the ED and has the opportunity to interact with Jenn, they are made to feel like they and their patient are of the utmost importance to her. EMT students enjoy working with Jenn and appreciate the education they receive. Upon completion of their time in the ED, students feel a sense of accomplishment and the confidence to provide excellent emergency care. Jenn follows up with crews to share patient outcomes, how the diagnosis was made, and what, if anything, could have been done differently in the treatment of that patient in the field.


Gouverneur Rescue, 2023 Richard Beebe Education Award

In August 2022, Gouverneur Rescue was awarded a Rural EMS Training Grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMSHA). Since the implementation of the education program, this grant has provided free education for 349 people in 12 free, online continuing medical education (CME) sessions. They also have funded EMT education and textbooks for 13 students so far and will fund several others during the Fall semester.


Ryan Lafex, EMT-B, 2023 BLS Provider of the Year

Ryan has served in EMS for over 15 years as an EMT-B with multiple agencies, including Cape Vincent and Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Squad, and Guilfoyle Ambulance Service. He works two full-time jobs and picks up additional part-time hours at a third. Ryan’s tireless professionalism, “let’s do this” attitude, and compassion puts smiles on his partners faces and inspires them to get out there and help others. From caring about his partners, coworkers, and patients, Ryan is someone that new EMTs can and should look up to.


Maja Lundborg-Gray, MD, 2023 Physician of Excellence

Shortly after receiving Samaritan Medical Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year, Dr. Lundborg-Gray was nominated for North Country REMSCO’s 2023 Physician of Excellence. She is Board-certified in Emergency Medicine and currently serves as Medical Director for nine regional EMS agencies. EMT’s who have the opportunity to work with Dr. Lundborg-Gray say that her enthusiasm and dedication to the EMS field is evident in her involvement in their agencies. She also serves as an active member of the North Country Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee, supporting agencies and providing constructive feedback and guidance with capturing data necessary to enhance medical care rendered in the North Country region.


Joe Martin, AEMT-P (Paramedic), 2023 ALS Provider of the Year

After beginning as a Basic EMT in 2015, Joe furthered his career, eventually becoming a paramedic in 2019. He serves with Indian River Ambulance as a volunteer and Gouverneur Rescue as a paid EMT. Joe’s dedication to his knowledge and growth as a paramedic is never-ending, and he is continually sharing his knowledge with colleagues. His dedication has enhanced the agencies of which he is part and has raised the bar for the pre-hospital care provided in those communities.


Parishville Volunteer Fire Company, 2023 EMS Agency of the Year

Parishville Volunteer Fire Company is a paramedic agency covering the townships of Pierrepont, Potsdam, Stockholm, Brasher Falls, and Lawrence. They respond to over 700 calls per year, the majority of which are mutual aid calls in areas outside of their primary coverage area and for which there is no compensation. Thanks to the tremendous unselfishness of these dedicated volunteers, community members in these areas now have the life-saving emergency care that they need.


David Sherman, AEMT-P (Retired), 2023 EMS Educator of Excellence & Years of Service Recognition

Over 750 EMT students have had the opportunity to be trained by Dave throughout his 33-years in the EMS profession, which began in 1990 as a Rutland Fire Department First Responder. From there, he became an EMT-B and joined Guilfoyle Ambulance in 1992, receiving his AEMT-P (paramedic) in 1995. For many years in the late 90s, Dave was the only instructor in Jefferson County and taught two classes per year for ten years. In the early 2000s, he was recognized by New York State and given the title of Regional Faculty. Dave was always willing to assist new instructors, teach classes that needed coverage, and provide training at the regional level.


Ann Smith, AEMT-P, Years of Service Recognition

Ann has spent most of her 30+ years in EMS serving the North Country region. She recently took a new position with New York State Emergency Management and relocated out of the area. Most recently, she served nearly eight years as the Director of the North Country EMS Program Agency at Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO).


Natalie Waterman, EMT-B, 2023 Youth Provider of the Year

Natalie began as a junior member of the Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Squad (TIERS) over two years ago. She became an EMT-B in late 2022. She is a senior in high school, and after graduation, she will be attending Clarkson University to become a doctor, physician assistant, or surgeon. In addition to her service as an EMT, Natalie is an academic all-star, valedictorian of her senior class at LaFargeville Central School, President of the Student Council, member of the soccer team, participant in Whiz Kids and prom committee, and works a part-time job.


Photo Captions:

Group Photo (L to R): Mark Deavers (representing Gouverneur Rescue), Joe Martin, David Sherman, Jennifer Castle, Dr. Maja Lundborg-Gray, Ann Smith, Edwin Cool (representing Parishville Volunteer Fire Company), and Debbie Singleton

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