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During a beautiful afternoon at Harbor Park in Norfolk on June 16, 2019, the Tidewater EMS Council presented ten regional EMS awards and a special lifetime achievement award. The awards presentation was part of the council's annual EMS family day at the ballpark attended by some 400 responders, dispatchers, emergency department staff and their families.

The council's highest award, the R. C. Dailey Award for Excellence in EMS, was awarded to Dominador "Dan" Fermil, for his service to the Tidewater region and Virginia is vast and noteworthy including service to the Hampton Roads MMRS Oversight Committee, the TCC EMS Advisory Committee of which he served as Chair, VAVRS, Virginia Association of Governmental EMS Administrators, and the Virginia Office of EMS Workforce Development Standards of Excellence Committee.

Other award recipients were:

Bruce W. Edwards Outstanding EMS Administrator Award – Jeffery Meyer, Portsmouth Fire-Rescue

Outstanding EMS Agency Award – Princess Anne Volunteer Volunteer Rescue Squad

Outstanding Pre-Hospital EMS Provider Award – Chirs Bailey, IOW Co EMS, PACHVRS

Frank M. Yeiser, Jr., MD Award – Nella A. Linz, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Medical Director, Chest Pain Center

Nurse with Outstanding Contribution to EMS Award – Michelle Shoate, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital

James M. Wagenbach Outstanding Pre-Hospital Educator Award – Brian McIntosh, Portsmouth Fire-Rescue

Outstanding Public Safety Telecommunications Dispatcher Award - Mary Woodyard, Portsmouth E-911 Communications and Emergency Services 911 Center

Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety Award - Christopher Maciewicz, Chesapeake Fire Department

Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response – Jenifer (JJ) Justis - Eastern Shore Health District/Melfa Fire and Rescue

Lifetime Achievement Award – Dominador "Dan" Fermil, Chesapeake Fire Department


All of the regional EMS award winners (not including the lifetime achievement award) will become nominees in similar categories for the Governors EMS Awards program. Winners of the Governor's awards will be announced November 9, 2019, during the Virginia EMS Symposium in Norfolk.


The council would like to thank it's Platinum Partners, Sentara Southside Hospitals and Bon Secours Hampton Roads as well as the Virginia Office of EMS, the Norfolk Tides Baseball Club and Norfolk Fire-Rescue for its sponsorship and support of this year's EMS family day at the ballpark and awards presentation.


The TEMS 2019 awards presentations listing all nominees with a brief description of the award recipients:



Every day, our emergency medical services providers help to save lives by responding to persons suffering from heart attacks, difficulty breathing, motor vehicle accidents, drowning, cardiac arrest, stroke, drug overdoses, or acute illnesses.  Our annual awards ceremony recognize those who are not only everyday heroes, but who go above and beyond expectations and have been nominated by their peers for their outstanding service to our communities.  

Today, we welcome many of the region’s emergency medical providers, dispatchers, nurses, physicians, and their families to Harbor Park as we thank them and recognize an outstanding group of individuals and agencies who have been selected to receive an annual Tidewater EMS award for their service and dedication to the betterment of our communities and the Commonwealth of Virginia.



Our community suffered a terrible tragedy 17 days ago in the City of Virginia Beach. The resolve of our public safety professionals was tested, and their life-saving actions were nothing less than heroic. That day will forever live in our minds and in those that were affected, responded, and for those who continue to protect. We will not forget those members of our community that we lost on that day, and we will forever remain VB STRONG.

Please join me in a moment of silence as we remember the 12 members of our community that we lost on May 31st, 2019. 


This year, the Tidewater EMS Council received 33 nominations for regional awards. These individuals and organizations have been nominated by their peers for 10 different categories of Regional EMS awards.

Before announcing the award nominees and recipients, we would like to thank the Tidewater EMS Council’s platinum partners: Sentara Health Systems and Bon Secours Hampton Roads for helping make this event possible today and for supporting all of the council’s educational programs. We’d also like to thank contributors including the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, America Medical Response and of course the Tidewater EMS Council and the Norfolk Tides Baseball Club.

A special ‘thank you’ goes out to Norfolk Fire-Rescue Acting Fire Chief Michael Brooks for helping arrange and support the EMS picnic and awards program here today.

We would also like to recognize and thank the members of the Tidewater EMS Council’s Awards Committee who selected this year’s recipients: Sheila DeYoung, Larry Daniels, Kathryn Funk, Brian McIntosh, and Jeffrey Meyer.


Finally, we would like to thank the families and friends of our EMS providers, dispatchers, emergency department nurses, emergency department physicians, administrative staff, law enforcement officers, and firefighters.  Your support, caring, and understanding is and always will be vital to the success of our EMS system.

At this time, I have the honor of announcing the nominees and recipients of the 2019 Tidewater Regional Emergency Medical Services Awards. 

These individuals and organizations have been nominated by their peers for outstanding achievement in emergency medical services. Congratulations to all of our nominees!   On the field, along the third base line, our nominees will receive a certificate of recognition and our award recipients will receive a laser engraved trophy presented by Chesapeake Fire Department Division Chief Thom Schwalenberg, member of the Tidewater EMS Council Board of Directors and Norfolk Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Mark McCoy.



Our first award is the Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety award. This award is presented to an individual, program, business, or licensed EMS agency within the region that has demonstrated comprehensive and significant accomplishments or contributions to EMS provider health, safety and welfare.

Nominees for this category are: Christopher Mackiewicz (Mack-A-Witz) and the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad.

This year’s recipient has been with the City of Chesapeake Fire Department for over 18 years. Over the past several years, he has been instrumental in initiating several major programs that have had a significant positive impact on the physical and mental health of our providers. He has spearheaded projects that replaced the department’s protective equipment protecting members from dangerous cancer-causing materials, providing for personnel decontamination procedures and equipment for on-scene decontamination, and the addition of residential washing machines to every fire station to prevent the cross-contamination of uniforms and bedding from contaminant residue from the protective gear being cleaned in the same machine.

He also serves on numerous committees and workgroups focused on critical incident stress management, stress first aid, and cancer awareness and fundraising programs. He is a champion for provider health and safety and does all with the hope that one less firefighter and paramedic receives a diagnosis of cancer or other debilitating diseases.

Congratulations to this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety Award, Captain Christopher Mackiewicz (Mack-A-Witz) of the Chesapeake Fire Department.



Our next award recognizes excellence in EMS dispatching – The Outstanding Public Safety Telecommunications Dispatcher Award.

This person supports and utilizes emergency medical dispatch techniques, clearly communicates with responders, and works above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the patient receives the best care possible in the quickest means possible.

Nominees for this category are: Lisa Gibbons, Kristin Jeter, Carlee Parker, and Mary Woodyard.

This year’s recipient of the Outstanding EMS Telecommunications Officer began her career in 2004 and leads by example. She serves as a Senior Dispatcher with the City of Portsmouth and has displayed the calm demeanor needed during times of crisis. An example of her professionalism occurred in August of 2018 where she took a 911 call for a female that suffered from a gunshot wound. Remaining calm and focused, our recipient was able to keep the caller reassured that help was on the way, obtain key medical information, and was able to obtain all necessary information including information that was key in the identification and apprehension of the suspect. 

She willingly takes on additional projects, shifts, and conducts fundraising to support her fellow dispatchers during the National Telecommunications Week and beyond. She also serves as the training coordinator for the dispatch center providing initial and continuing instruction for all new and veteran dispatchers all while displaying the characteristics of a positive attitude, welcoming disposition, and a mentor mindset that we want in our Telecommunicators.

Congratulations to this year's Outstanding EMS Telecommunications Officer recipient Mary Woodyard with the City of Portsmouth 911 Dispatch Center.





Our next award is the Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response. This award is presented to any individual, EMS organization or EMS response group within the Commonwealth of Virginia that has demonstrated comprehensive and/or significant accomplishments for programs that provide preparedness, response and recovery from natural, man-made and preplanned events, which cause a significant impact on the agency and the community.

The nominees for this category are: Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad and Jenifer “JJ” Justis.

This year’s recipient has made a significant and lasting impact on the overall preparedness of her community on the Eastern Shore. She is the Local Health Emergency Coordinator with the Eastern Shore Health District and active Paramedic with Melfa Volunteer Fire and Rescue. In both of these roles, she has fostered friendships and partnerships that inevitably are leveraged to improve the overall health and resilience of her community. Without question, she has fostered a culture of preparedness on the Eastern Shore that makes her community more prepared for whatever may come their way. She has made the Eastern Shore Health District one of the top districts within the state. She has fostered innovative applications for the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), like deploying them to go door to door with critical health information and using them to provide first aid for large gathering events.

Serving on the Executive Committee of the Eastern Shore Disaster Preparedness Coalition, she promotes public education and citizen involvement in emergency preparedness. The CERT program is a perfect example of how she has engaged her community making them more resilient and better prepared for an emergency. It is hard to imagine the number of people that have been directly impacted by the 370 CERT volunteers she has trained since the program began in 2003.

Please join me in congratulating the Jenifer “JJ” Justis as this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response award.



The James M. Wagenbach Outstanding Pre-Hospital Educator Award honors an emergency medical services instructor who exemplifies outstanding teaching and leadership qualities and who demonstrates a dedication to the education of pre-hospital providers.

Nominees for this category are: Brian Abeyta (A-bay-ta), Christopher Barkers, Kevin T. Holloway, and Brian McIntosh.

This year’s recipient is a dedicated instructor and provider with a career in EMS that has spanned over 24 years in the Commonwealth of Virginia. From his military service in the United States Navy to his service with the Portsmouth Fire, Rescue & Emergency Services, the Chesapeake Fire Department, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, and Tidewater Community College, he has remained focused on excellence in the delivery of initial and continuing education for every student and provider he encounters improving the overall patient care provided throughout the region and beyond.

He developed, implemented, and managed an initial EMT certification program training providers for the Southside Regional Fire Academy providing instruction to students from the jurisdictions of Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Navy Regional Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services resulting in a 91% first-time pass rate and 100% cumulative pass-rate on the National Registry cognitive examination. He also provides standardized and hybrid certification courses to ensure providers that may not be the traditional student can develop their skills and work towards a rewarding career in Emergency Medical Services.

Along with initial certification courses, he produces and delivers quality continuing education throughout the region utilizing programs such as the Excellence in EMS Education CE program and other advanced scenario-based training, delivering courses that engage students with varied experience levels ensuring we remain on the cutting-edge of pre-hospital care.

Recently, he formed the Hampton Roads Regional EMS Academy for joint training of Advanced EMTs increasing the availability of first-line ALS care throughout the region and serves as the Program Director for this program.

Serving on numerous local, regional, and state-wide committees and workgroups, he focuses on improving EMS Education in the Commonwealth and continually strives for excellence benefiting his students and their future patients. He utilizes multiple education methodologies ensuring learners from all backgrounds are prepared for success in their chosen careers in public safety.

He continually works to improve EMS education in the region and the Commonwealth, knowing that his students are the next generation of providers that will continue to provide outstanding pre-hospital care and education to the Tidewater Region and beyond.

Please join me in congratulating to this year's recipient of the James M. Wagenbach Outstanding Pre-hospital Educator Award, Brian McIntosh with Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services.



The Nurse with Outstanding Contribution to EMS award recognizes outstanding dedication and service in the field of nursing, knowledge and performance of EMS nursing skills, and cooperative, positive interaction with other EMS personnel.

Our nominees this year are: Katie Dennis, Michelle Shoate (Show-tay), and Michael Whitehurst.

The recipient of this award has worked at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital over 20 years serving in numerous capacities and currently serves as a Unit Manager for the Emergency Department.

She routinely precepts EMS students at the BLS and ALS level, as well as newly graduated nurses providing constructive criticism and feedback to help these future and current providers better at their craft.

She is a nurse who providers can learn from and she makes herself available to anyone who needs help. She serves as an EMS liaison and actively staffs the Mobile Emergency Department for special events seamlessly working alongside EMS providers.


Please join me in congratulating this year's Outstanding Emergency Nurse Award recipient Michelle Shoate (Show-tay) with Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. ********************************************************


The Dr. Frank M. Yeiser (Yeye-zer), Jr. award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a Physician recognizes a physician who exemplifies outstanding leadership and dedication in the exercise of pre-hospital care.

Our nominees this year are: Dr. Scott William Hines, Dr. Nella Linz (Lens), and Dr. Joel Michael.

This year’s recipient exemplifies outstanding leadership and dedication to improving the pre-hospital care of military and EMS agencies in the Tidewater region. She currently serves as the Medical Director for Interventional Cardiology at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

As Medical Director of the Chest Pain Center and the Cath Lab at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, she has made it her “life-mission” to break down all hospital, EMS, and physician barriers. She remains a teacher, an advisor, and a true advocate for the prehospital providers. She strives to learn and address providers by their first names and stresses the importance of face-to-face interactions with prehospital providers during patient turnovers to the many internal medicine and emergency medicine residents she trains annually. She truly values the impressions of the prehospital providers from the scene, often meeting ambulances outside, upon their arrival, to discuss the patient with the EMS providers. Her non-threatening reputation and invaluable rapport with prehospital care providers makes each provider feel as though he or she is a valued link in the chain of survival.

She is an active instructor at the regional level frequently volunteering her time and assets to assist EMS agencies teaching cardiology continuing education classes to ensure cardiac education is widespread across Tidewater and always available, despite geography or status. She has taught several cardiac classes on numerous occasions so that all providers throughout the Tidewater region could be better familiarized cardiac issues, treatments, and long-term treatments.

Please join me in congratulating this year's recipient of the Outstanding Emergency Physician Award, Doctor Nelle Linz (Lens) with Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.



Next, we would like to introduce you to our Outstanding Pre-Hospital EMS Provider. This person is characterized as one who exemplifies outstanding dedication and service to their community as a field provider.

Nominees for this award are: Christopher Bailey, Dale Drescher, Richard Gray, Jean Jones, Laurel Lapp, and John Neumayer.

This year’s recipient has nearly ten years of combined service in fire and emergency medical services. During this time, he has served as a field paramedic, operational supervisor, and training officer demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to his profession, his colleagues and to the public as well.  

He efficiently and thoroughly assesses each patient to determine the most appropriate treatment plan and provides key information to the receiving emergency department advocating on behalf of the patient with receiving nursing staff and physicians. He consistently treats everyone with compassion and respect, regardless if it is 2 am or the 15th patient of the shift.


He believes that effective training not only builds confident and competent providers but is the strongest retention tool our career field has. He takes it upon himself to provide exceptional precepting and mentorship to new entry-level providers working to determine the comfort level and training needs of each new provider and then customizes his approach to reflect the identified needs. He takes a lot of pride in helping new providers grow and develop themselves into great providers, often sacrificing his personal time to ensure that they get the practice and training time they need.

Join me in congratulating this year’s recipient for Outstanding Pre-Hospital Provider Award: Christopher Bailey from Isle of Wight Emergency Services and Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Rescue Squad.



The Outstanding EMS Agency award is presented to an agency which exemplifies outstanding professionalism and service to its community; whose high level of patient care is evident by training programs, community awareness programs, preventative health programs and participation in local, regional and statewide EMS systems.

The agency selected as this year’s Outstanding EMS Agency demonstrates an extraordinary connection and commitment to their community by providing numerous service events including Stop-The-Bleed courses, Community CPR, and multiple community and social events. This agency has also created an event called “Squad Days” focusing on giving back to its’ members, past and present providing fellowship and continued development of lifelong members and friendships.

Please join me in congratulating the Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Rescue Squad, our 2019 Outstanding EMS Agency.



The Bruce W. Edwards Outstanding EMS Administrator Award recognizes outstanding leadership and management qualities for EMS personnel who have supervisory or administrative duties.

Nominees for this award are: Dale Drescher, Jeffrey Meyer, Ernest “Bryan” Rush, and Travis Smith.

This year’s recipient has a passion for EMS that goes without question. Under his leadership and guidance, his department has made significant improvements in operational and clinical activities. Some examples of these improvements include the integration of premier indoctrination and training programs, cutting-edge biomedical equipment, and the addition of numerous added positions in the field and supervisory levels resulting in improved patient outcomes and provider retention. This year’s recipient developed and led the region’s first Mobile Integrated Healthcare program aptly named “Check-Up” and proved its viability and success in the region.

His leadership and involvement in EMS at all levels is evident through his service in numerous roles including the Virginia Association of Governmental EMS Administrators, the Board of Directors for the Tidewater EMS Council, Strike Team Leader for regional Metropolitan Medical Strike Team, and as a Medical Specialist for the federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

He ensures his agency remains at the forefront of EMS service to his community and his department members.

Please help me congratulate this year's recipient of the Bruce W. Edwards Outstanding EMS Administrator Award, Jeffrey Meyer from Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services.



Our most cherished category is the R.C. Dailey Award for Excellence in Emergency Medical Services. This award was established in honor of longtime Tidewater EMS Council Associate Executive Director R.C. “Flash” Dailey to recognize an individual who exemplifies outstanding dedication and services to the local, regional or state EMS system and who has demonstrated a commitment to a comprehensive, integrated EMS system. 

This year’s nominees for this prestigious award are: Dominador (Doe-men-a-door) “Dan” Fermil (Fur-mill), Doris Foster, John “Kevin” Janney, and William “Bill” Taggert.

This year’s recipient began his involvement in Emergency Medical Services in 1985 as a volunteer with the Chesapeake Volunteer EMS Agency and two years later was hired as a Cardiac Technician with the Chesapeake Fire Department. Over his career, this recipient served as a Paramedic, a Firefighter, an EMS Training Officer, Chief Medical Officer and ultimately receiving an appointment as the Deputy Fire Chief overseeing all field operations and training for the Chesapeake Fire Department until his retirement this past May.


His service to the Tidewater region and Virginia is vast and noteworthy including service to the Hampton Roads MMRS Oversight Committee, the TCC EMS Advisory Committee of which he served as Chair, VAVRS, Virginia Association of Governmental EMS Administrators, and the Virginia Office of EMS Workforce Development Standards of Excellence Committee.

Like most people in our profession, this year’s recipient worked several part-time jobs in addition to his full-time position with Chesapeake serving as a Flight Medic with Nightingale Air Ambulance, Adjunct Instructor with TCC, and as a Field Coordinator for the Tidewater EMS Council. He also deployed in September of 2005 to the Gulf Coast as a member of the Tidewater Region’s first Incident Management Team which later evolved into the Hampton Roads Incident Management Team providing services throughout the country during major incidents.

We recognize the passion and drive of this year’s recipient to make our EMS system better and stronger and it is with great pleasure that the Tidewater EMS Council recognizes Dan Fermil (Fur-mill) of the Chesapeake Fire Department as this year’s recipient of the R. C. Dailey Award for Excellence in EMS award.




In 2017 the Tidewater EMS Council created a special award recognizing a provider that has had a significant and lasting impact on the Tidewater EMS Region – The James “Jim” Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award. 

This year’s recipient has come from humble beginnings as a volunteer EMS provider serving his community working his way through numerous part-time positions; while working full-time and obtaining four college degrees including a Master of Business Administration degree from St. Leo’s University and reaching the rank of Deputy Fire Chief. He has demonstrated the life and career of the ultimate professional displaying constant servant-leadership throughout his 34 years of EMS service to the Tidewater Region and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

It is with great honor that the Tidewater EMS Council now recognizes the service and career of Dominador (Doe-men-a-door) “Dan” Fermil (Fur-mill) with the presentation of the James “Jim” Chandler TEMS Lifetime Achievement Award.




All of the Tidewater regional EMS award recipients will become nominees for the annual Governor’s EMS awards program for a chance to receive statewide recognition in their respective categories. The Governor’s EMS award recipients will be announced in November here in Norfolk and we wish you all good luck!

On behalf of the Tidewater EMS Council, and those who sponsored and helped organize this EMS Day at the Ballpark and annual awards presentation, thank you for your service.  Let’s give our nominees, award recipients and all of our EMS guests a warm round of applause!




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