The multidisciplinary team from Lexington, Kentucky works to bridge the gap between struggling community members and the resources available to help them.
Chester, CT– Whelen Engineering announced today that the Lexington Community Paramedicine Team has been given the 2022 Whelen Everyday Champion Award. Each year, Whelen’s Everyday Champion program celebrates and recognizes outstanding emergency service departments, individuals, or groups by honoring demonstrations of bravery during an act of exceptional valor, or tireless efforts in making a community a better or safer place to live.
This year’s winner is a multidisciplinary team from Kentucky that includes Lexington Fire Department Captain Seth Lockard, Lieutenant Ken Howell, Firefighter Patrick Branam, Detective Kristie Smith, Mackenzie Gross, CSW, and Maria Slone, CSW.
“We’re very excited to honor the paramedicine team this year and bring well-deserved recognition to the great work they do in their community,” said Peter Tiezzi, General Manager of Motorsports at Whelen, and retired 35-year veteran of the Chester Hose Company in Chester, Connecticut. “They truly embody the spirit of being everyday champions through their commitment to helping connect vulnerable community members with necessary resources and services” Tiezzi continued.
The paramedicine team, the only of its kind in Kentucky and one of only a few across the country, uses traditional EMS resources in a non-traditional manner to meet the needs of the community. The team works to connect the dots between struggling community members and the resources available to help them like dispatching paramedics, but not ambulances, to patients who frequently call 911 for non-emergent reasons because they don’t have anyone else to call. The paramedicine team provides educational home visits or assessments to get to the root of the problem and find long-term solutions for individuals in need. Paramedicine intervention translates to fewer non-emergent ambulance calls and fewer patients in hospital emergency rooms.
Many individuals the paramedicine team helps are elderly, disabled, homeless, or otherwise vulnerable adults. “We listen to the stories of these individuals and then determine how we, as first responders, can best assist them,” said Capt. Seth Lockard. “This can include securing housing for someone experiencing homelessness, advocating for a patient in a local emergency department, or locating treatment options for an individual with a substance use disorder,” continued Lockard.
The small team, formed in 2017, impacts hundreds of individuals in Lexington each year. So far this year they’ve served more than 468 unique individuals and have followed up with more than 1,300 people suffering from non-fatal overdoses. “Community paramedicine is a win for everyone, especially the citizens whose quality of life is often improved through the services,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton has said in the past. The team is available seven days a week and provides training and guidance to other local first responders including firefighters, paramedics, and police officers on available resources to help the individuals they respond to.
A special ceremony will be held in January 2023 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina to honor the team and they will receive an award of distinction in the Whelen Hall of Champions. This special exhibit found inside the Hall of Fame inspires visitors through stories of heroism, bravery, and honor, and includes the names of past Everyday Champion winners.
Whelen Engineering revolutionized emergency warning technology with the invention of the first rotating “anti-collision” beacon in 1952. Today, Whelen continues to push the boundaries of innovation with reliable and powerful lights, sires, control systems, and software, all manufactured in America. Whelen encompasses two state-of-the-art facilities in Connecticut and New Hampshire, with over one million square feet of engineering and manufacturing space.
Whelen is a steadfast supporter of organizations dedicated to honoring first responders like the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and is a corporate partner of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund