York paramedics recognized for bravery, service

Two York Region paramedics who spent 35 minutes in a dark marsh at the Holland River in search of someone who was in distress have been recognized for their bravery.

Paramedics Bret Foisy and Richard Morra responded to the distress call in the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2017. Once they located the victim, they treated the person for hypothermia and are credited with ensuring the person’s safety until police services took over.

The pair received the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery at a ceremony Queen’s Park with Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott. The award is given to paramedics who show courage while on the job or off-duty in the face of grave, personal danger.

Another eight paramedics were awarded the prestigious Governor General of Canada Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of service: Captain/Lead Paramedics Dean Mills, Kyle Grant, Richard Renta and Shelly Burley, TFT Platoon Leader Steven Lucas, and Advanced Care Paramedics Joanna Caldwell, Brock Usborn and Julie Grainger.

The Exemplary Service Medal was created in 1994 to recognize paramedics who performed their duties for a minimum of 20 years in a commendable manner and is one of the highest honours a paramedic can receive. Paramedics also receive a bar on their medal at 30, 40 and 50 years of service.

Seven York Region paramedics received the First Bar for 30 years of service: Deputy Chief/Manager of Paramedic Services Iain Park, Supervisor of Paramedic Services Scheduling Dianne Nordheimer, Primary Care Paramedic Michael Ristich, Driver and Safety Training Officer Robert Harakal, Captain/Lead Paramedic ACP John Leo Rosswill, Program Manager of Capital Delivery Tim Balsdon and Superintendent/Supervisor Tim McMullin.

Retired Primary Care Paramedic Ian Phythian received the Third Bar for 50 years of service. The awards were handed out at an annual Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs gala. York Region has a team of more than 500 paramedics. Learn more at york.ca/paramedics or follow York Region paramedics on Twitter @YorkParamedics.

Photo (l-r): York Region Paramedic Services Chief Chris Spearen; Advanced Care Paramedic Richard Morra; MPP Christine Elliott: and Platoon Leader Bret Foisy. 

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