S.C. EMT Named Volunteer of the Year - @ JEMS.com


S.C. EMT Named Volunteer of the Year


 
 

Elaine Gaston | | Thursday, January 31, 2008


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- No one beamed brighter than Joan Vaitis' husband when she was named the 2007 The Sun News Volunteer of the Year on Tuesday.

Joan Vaitis gasped, and her husband, Ed Vaitis, announced: "I'm a dead man now. I'm so happy, but I'm dead. Oh geez."

That's because Joan Vaitis' humble spirit doesn't feed off recognition. She's driven instead by her desire to ease people's pain and suffering and sustained by an inner strength few can muster.

When Joan Vaitis learned her husband had nominated her earlier this month, "she didn't speak to me for a week," he said. "This kind of stuff is not for her. She doesn't do anything for her benefit."

Vaitis was singled out among her volunteer peers during a banquet at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, where her community service as a paramedic for the North Myrtle Beach Rescue Squad and with the Coastal Critical Incident Stress Management Team were underscored.

She was chosen by Henry Haitz III, publisher of The State newspaper in Columbia, who was asked to select a winner among the 12 volunteers nominated.

"These nominees give up their time and talents, perhaps the most precious item we each have to offer, to help their communities," Haitz said of Vaitis in a speech read at the banquet. "The winner this year shows up and shows up and shows up. And each time she shows up, the community benefits from her time and talents."

Even in accepting her award, Vaitis, known in the community as "Mrs. Rescue," shared the glory of winning with her peers.

"This gives so much affirmation to what I do, what you do, what we do," Vaitis told the audience of about 230 people. "I didn't expect this, but I thank you very much."

She will be considered for a national Jefferson Award and will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June. The Jefferson Awards, sponsored by the American Institute for Public Service, honors community and public service in America on a national and local level.

Vaitis joined the North Myrtle Beach Rescue Squad in 1990, becoming a certified emergency medical technician and paramedic.

She also teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation, coordinates training to ensure departmental certification for state standards and provides counseling to colleagues to help them cope with tragedies.

"Volunteering has changed my life," she said. "It has become my life."

While the squad gets her attention most of the time, the former commercial artist is active in her church at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church; has worked to ensure area churches are equipped with defibrillators; visits nursing homes; and counsels the grieving.

"She really is a very special lady," Ed Vaitis said. "I'm so lucky God gave her to me."

After several congratulatory hugs and handshakes, Joan Vaitis embraced her husband, who jokingly asked: "You still love me, don't you?"

-- -- --

ONLINE

Go to Myrtle BeachOnline.com for a video of the event.

Contact ELAINE GASTON at 626-0299 or egaston@thesunnews.com


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Training

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Truck Strikes Pedestrians in Scotland

Six killed in downtown Glasgow.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >