Putnam County EMS chief Andrew Jackson receives prestigious national award
MCNABB — For the past 45 years, Andrew Jackson has been an integral part of ensuring that residents of Putnam County have had the help they need during times of emergencies.
This year, he’s received recognition for his dedication.
Jackson, who is director and EMS chief of the Putnam County Emergency Medical Service, was recently named a 2018 recipient of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians EMS Advocate of the Year Awards.
He began his service as a firefighter in 1973 and began his work providing emergency medical care in 1991. He’s been a part of the local EMS since it was formed in 2006, and has been its director and chief since 2008.
“I enjoy everything about this work,” Jackson said.
“This is my heart and soul, knowing that myself and my great staff at PCEMS are making a great difference.”
Thousands of EMS providers are nominated for the awards each year, but only two or three are chosen to receive the honor during the national EMS association’s On The Hill Day event held yearly in Washington, D.C.
The criteria for the awards is based on the nominee’s efforts to keep the public informed, as well as speaking to local, state and federal government leaders about the status of EMS providers, desired changes and organizational needs.
Jackson said EMS work has undergone many positive changes over the years in regard to both equipment and procedures. He is hopeful providers will also soon be recognized as organized professionals such as registered nurses and firefighters.
“We’re making great strides with the public starting to understand that as EMS providers, we’re bringing the emergency room to them and aren’t just ambulance drivers any more,” he said.
EMS providers must dedicate themselves to complete demanding emergency medical training and then continue it, and Jackson said one of the challenges EMS providers regularly face is the pay. He added another challenge is educating the public about when to call for an ambulance.
“My prediction for the future of EMS is that, hopefully, all of the great, well-trained and dedicated people involved finally get the rewards and recognition they deserve,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s EMS Advocate of the Year Award citation states he “advocates consistently to ensure that every patient receives the best pre-hospital care. He is an ambassador for the EMS profession and takes it upon himself to meet with local and state officials to educate them on the important service EMS provides in the community.”
“Our chief lives and breathes for all of us in this great EMS field,” Putnam County EMS member Kathy Newhalfen stated in the write-up.
“We, the staff and the Putnam County residents, feel that Chief Andrew Jackson is an outstanding person and really deserves some recognition for his hard work on behalf of our profession,” Putnam County EMS member Jermey Simmons wrote.
Jackson’s award and career accomplishments are even more impressive when compared to the other two award winners for 2018. While he’s the director of a small EMS service in the smallest county in the state, the others are state-level EMS advocates and coordinators for Delaware and Wisconsin.
“When I was told I was going to receive this award, I was speechless. I’m very honored and humbled to have been given this great honor, especially because I’m involved with the great staff at PCEMS, a very small department, and also because we take care of all the great people in Putnam County and the surrounding areas,” Jackson said.