Local Hospital Honors Unsung Heroes

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PANAMA CITY BEACH - When bad accidents happen, we count on help to arrive quickly.

Thursday night, a local hospital honored the people who always respond and set about the task of saving lives.

Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center honored our local First Responders.

They answer 911 calls, pull people out of crushed cars, and keep heart attack victims alive.

They're the dispatchers, firemen, paramedics, and EMT's who are the first to arrive on the scene when something bad happens.

They may have different jobs, but they all have a common goal...Helping the public.

Carlton Ulmer is the CEO of Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center and said, "When you think about your loved one and an event happens at your home or your business, these are the guys that show up first on the scene to help them out so their role is absolutely critical."

Thursday night, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center held it's annual awards dinner honoring the region's first responders in conjunction with National Emergency Medical Services week.

One of the big awards, Fire Chief of the Year, went to Panama City Beach Fire Chief John Daly, he said "I'm one little cog in the machinery of Panama City Beach Fire Rescue. The men that work there are awesome and I'm blessed with the people I work with. They're an outstanding group of men and I'm proud to be part of that team."

The EMS personnel are just as humble as Chief Daly and being a paramedic is not for the weak of heart.

Lawrence Smith won Paramedic of the Year and said, "We are the calming voice in a bad situation, we are the individuals who try to make sense of chaos."

Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst was on hand to present an award and said, "These guys put their lives on the line every day for us so that we can live in a safe environment. We are extremely proud of them and any time they receive recognition it's not ever enough."

E.R. Physician and EMS Professor at Gulf Coast State College, Dr. Huan Vu won the EMS Distinguished Service Award.

Registered Nurse and Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center E.R. Director Sheila Bradt won a EMS Meritorious Service Award.

Callaway Fire Lieutenant and Regional Paramedic Educator Bill Costello won the EMS Educator of the Year Award.

Calhoun County EMT Tammi Mayo won the EMT of the Year Award.

Brian Hardin, an Emergency Dispatch Supervisor won the EMC Communicator of the Year Award.