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Yuma Fire Department recognizes 2016 Paramedic, EMT and Dispatcher of the Year

On Monday, May 16, the City of Yuma Fire Department held an evening ceremony to kick off National Emergency Medical Services Week by recognizing emergency responders who have gone above and beyond in their duties. National EMS Week is celebrated May 15-21, and is a time to show our appreciation for the dedication of those who are at the frontline of healthcare. This year is 42nd annual observation of EMS Week, with this year’s theme being “EMS Strong: Called to Care,” emphasizing the cooperative efforts needed to provide effective emergency medical response. 



YUMA, Ariz. - Observation of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week began Monday, May 16 as City of Yuma Mayor Douglas J. Nicholls read a proclamation at 6 p.m. at Fire Station #1. Additionally, a special recognition was held to commemorate members of the Emergency Medical Service team selected for their exemplary performance, service, and achievements.

Representing the Yuma Fire Department during the award presentations were Chief Steve Irr, Mayor Nicholls and City Administrator Greg Wilkinson.

This year's Emergency Medical Dispatcher of the Year is Jaymie Meinders. Meinders is extremely consistent in performing her dispatch duties. She always remains calm and is great at multi-tasking. Jaymie was the dispatcher during a significant lightning storm, handling an extremely large number of calls, prioritizing them and staying calm and organized the entire time. She has a background in EMS which gives her a unique perspective. She understands what is needed by the first responders, having been one herself. 

The Emergency Medical Technician of the Year for the City of Yuma Fire Department is Firefighter Rocky Laguna. One of the most important aspects of being a good EMT dealing with patients, not only with their treatment, but also with the right attitude.  Every single call Laguna responds to, he has a great attitude and treats all patients with the respect and kindness they deserve.  Laguna is the first one to speak to the patient and his positive attitude goes a long way in easing the anxiety one might be feeling on possibly the worst day of their lives.  Laguna's upbeat attitude also helps in keeping the scene calm alongside the other EMT’s and medics around him. He is a true professional.

This year’s Paramedic of the Year for the City of Yuma Fire Department is Fire Captain Juan Garcia. Garcia has shown on numerous occasions that he is a well-qualified and skillful medic. The patient always comes first.  Garcia has a manner of communicating with patients and family members that allows them to feel at ease with the situation they are in. Garcia encourages others to meet the standards expected by YFD and the citizens we serve.  Garcia has assisted in mentoring not only new Paramedics but also new EMTs that come through the station for ride time.  His 20 plus years as an EMT and Paramedic have made him a valuable asset to YFD and the City of Yuma.