CLINTON, Miss. -- The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) announces that Mark E. Wintle, of Morris Township, N.J., has won the 2010 NAEMT EMT of the Year Award, sponsored by Braun Industries. The award will be presented to Wintle on September 28 at the NAEMT General Membership Meeting and Awards presentation, held in conjunction with EMS EXPO 2010 in Dallas.
Each year, NAEMT collaborates with other national EMS organizations to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions in EMS. The NAEMT EMT of the Year Award recognizes an emergency medical technician who demonstrates excellence in the performance of emergency medical services. NAEMT award winners receive a $1,000 award stipend, plus free travel, lodging for three nights and registration for EMS EXPO 2010.
A true leader
Wintle, an EMT-Basic and Captain, Morris Minute Men Emergency Medical Services, was nominated by colleague Tiffany Willshaw. Wintle joined Morris Minute Men EMS in 2003 and since then has become one of the pillars of the organization, she says. “Mark is the kind of person that would give you his shirt off his back. He is often the first person to respond to a request for shift coverage, the first to sign-up for standbys, the first and last person at a meeting, and the first person to tell you that EMS isn’t just about running ambulance calls. Mark is a true leader who strives to help his community and his state by making his squad become the best they can be by being the best that he can be.”
Wintle is one of the most active members of the organization, serving on numerous committees. He was promoted to Captain in January after serving as Assistant Captain. He has been proactive in improving the way Minute Men EMS recruits members through membership drives, banner creation and even publishing a Morris Minute Men comic book. “He is frequently the first point of contact for prospective members and has played a part in most members’ decision to join,” she says.
He also has been a proponent for disaster preparedness by incorporating the Incident Command System into activities and planning, and was involved with the group’s transition to electronic charting this year, learning and personalizing the system and training others. He was a driving force behind Minute Men EMS’s successful bid to meet and exceed all OSHA safety, training and equipment requirements to ensure worker safety. “Having an all-volunteer organization be certified by an OSHA inspector as fully-compliant is a rarity,” Willshaw says. Due to Wintle's leadership, his team was chosen as the NJ EMS Strike Team Leader for Morris County, was nominated for outstanding EMS organization by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services Office of Emergency Medical Services, and was voted Best Morris County EMS Organization by The Daily Record newspaper.
“Mark is incredibly proactive in reaching out to ensure our members are dealing with the stresses of our field appropriately, are completing all required trainings and certifications, and are giving the best patient care possible,” Willshaw states. He is driven to make Morris Minute Men EMS the most professional and well-rounded organization it can be. “He is constantly interacting with members of the organization to ensure a positive work environment. To say Mark is loved and respected by his peers is a gross understatement,” she says.
Providing the best patient care
In addition to his administrative work, Wintle runs a 15-hour shift every week and an additional 24-hour shift every six weeks. “With all of the responsibilities Mark carries and hours he logs, it is incredible to see how much he cares about each patient,” Willshaw says. “Mark reassures scared patients and families, trying to find the best way to treat and transport them while optimizing their comfort and privacy. He realizes that this call may be one of the worst moments of a person’s life, and he does his best to help them deal with the onslaught of people around them, the noise and confusion of lights and sirens, and the potentially scary experience of an ambulance and ER,” she says.
Relating to the community and local organizations
To help allay fears people may have of EMS, Wintle has helped organize a variety of events through which community members can interact with EMS practitioners outside of emergency situations. He has scheduled Minute Men ambulances and crews to go to schools, churches and community picnics to give ambulance tours and answer questions. Each summer, the group takes part in Morris County’s National Night Out Against Crime, where the fleet provides ambulance tours and souvenir photos that encourage community members - especially children - to try on rescue gear and pose. “Hundreds of families received free photos of their children in EMS gear and smiles thanks to Mark,” Willshaw says. Through such events, Wintle and his team strive to show children and adults that EMTs are friendly, approachable and there to help.
Wintle also is involved in the Morris County Captain’s Alliance, the Southeast Morris Rehabilitation Action Coalition, of which he is a founding member, the local hospital association, and the New Jersey EMS Task Force, helping at large-scale incident drills and public events. He served as the County Strike Team Leader, and has been instrumental in creating a new Morris County EMS response force, which will oversee new equipment such as a multi-casualty response unit, a staging trailer, and an off-road ambulance. Willshaw notes that Wintle is always highly regarded by his peers and is frequently asked to spearhead projects due to his attention to detail, dedication to his craft, and his zeal for EMS.
Advancing his education
Wintle received his EMT-B certification in 2003, and continues to advance his learning in the field of EMS. “Members joke that if there is a CEU class for a pertinent topic, Mark has taken it, and they are usually right,” says Willshaw. Wintle shares his knowledge with other Minute Men members during his monthly Captain’s report, during his weekly Friday night shift, and through e-mails, but most importantly, while out in the field caring for patients.
In addition to his EMS work, Wintle is involved with Ham Radio, participates in charity motorcycle rides, and is happily married. He has received the local Knights of Columbus award for EMT of the year and was nominated for EMT of the Year by the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Office of Emergency Medical Services.
“So much of what I do successfully is because of the people I work with. In EMS we do everything as a team. We depend on each other. One part of the team that doesn't get mentioned very often is family. When I can't be at an important family function because of a big fire or some other disaster, my wife doesn't complain, she just accepts it. She's proud of the work I do and I couldn’t do it without her support,” Wintle says. “I love being an EMT. It's the thing I'm most proud of. Anyone who ever did it would feel that way. I love being part of the Morris Minute Men and helping to make it a better, stronger organization.”
“Some people, when they look back on their life, will have some moment that they're most proud of -when they did something that was amazing, grand or heroic. Many people never even have a chance to do something like that. It just doesn’t come up and they always wonder what they actually would do if they were tested. I used to feel that way. I used to wonder. But now I get to do these amazing things regularly. In the past seven years I've built a lot of great memories as an EMT. And, luckily, I think I'll get to have a lot more,” says Wintle.
NAEMT is the nation’s only professional association representing all EMS practitioners, including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, first responders and other professionals working in prehospital emergency medicine. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government service agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings, and in the military