RICHMOND, Va.– The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) was honored with a Patriot Award for being an outstanding employer of National Guard members and Reserve forces. The award is given by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) organization established to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve members and their civilian employers.
“The Richmond Ambulance Authority has shown its outstanding patriotism by going the extra mile to help its employees who are Guard and Reserve perform their military duty for our country. In so doing, the Richmond Ambulance Authority is a contributor to our national defense,” said LTC Cindy Norwood, Ombudsman Director for the Virginia Committee of the Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve; Lieutenant Colonel with the 80th Training Command (TASS), U.S. Army Reserve, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia; and a Senior Assistant Attorney General for the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. “The Richmond Ambulance Authority has also shown its exceptional patriotism by providing assistance for the Commonwealth's annual Wall of Honor Ceremony, paying tribute to the Heroes of the Global War on Terrorism who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Words cannot adequately express how much we all appreciate everything this great organization has done for our men and women in the armed forces.”
Richmond Ambulance Authority System Status Controller, Christopher A. Wootton, nominated RAA for the Patriot Award. Since 2004, Wootton has been employed by RAA while also serving in the Unites States Army Reserve. He has been deployed for a total of more than two years during this time – first to Iraq and most recently to Afghanistan where he served as a civil affairs team leader supporting multi-national nation-building and enemy-interdiction operations.
“Richmond Ambulance was incredibly supportive of me throughout all of my deployments,” said Wootton. “When you are serving your nation, in often extremely stressful situations, it is very comforting to know that the people you work with and for back home, as a civilian, care about you as a person and value what you are doing for the country. It’s part of what makes this nation great, and RAA’s commitment to US military service is why I wanted to nominate the organization as an outstanding employer.”
“Richmond Ambulance Authority is honored by this recognition and very proud of Chris and the other employees who have served, or are currently serving, in the military,” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority. “We truly appreciate the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation and are always happy to have them home.”
SSG Wootton is the recipient of more than a dozen awards including the Combat Medical Badge for treating wounded soldiers while engaged with the enemy, the Bronze Star Medal (BSM) for conduct during combat operations in southern Afghanistan and the Purple Heart (PH) for wounds sustained in direct combat with the enemy.
RAA also employs a second Bronze Star Medal holder, Director of Operations, Dempsey Whitt – a Sergeant Major in the Virginia National Guard and Chief Medical Non-Commissioned Officer for the 29th Infantry Division, Fort Belvoir, Va. Whitt also served in Afghanistan as a member of the Regional Police Advisory Command – South, Embedded Training Team and has just returned from a deployment in Fort Bliss, Texas where he concluded the rigorous United States Army Sergeants Major Academy.
“It is wonderful to have the support of RAA and the skills and training I have received serving in the National Guard, and attending the Sergeants Major Academy in particular, is directly transferrable to my role leading day-to-day operations here in Richmond,” said Whitt.
About the Richmond Ambulance Authority
In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the city manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City's residents. Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to approximately 135 calls per day and transports, on average, 110 patients per day. RAA’s emergency response times are among the fastest in the nation with ambulances on the scene of life threatening emergencies in less than 8 minutes and 59 seconds in more than 90% of all responses. RAA is one of only 11 EMS agencies in the United States accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.