Ryan Fretz Named 2021 Pilot of the Year by NEMSPA

Ryan Fretz wears a blue jumpsuit while standing in front of an air ambulance.
Ryan Fretz

The National EMS Pilots Association (NEMSPA) announced the selection of Air Methods’ Ryan Fretz with ARCH Program in Illinois as the 2021 Pilot of the Year. 

“Ryan was selected as this year’s nominee who best fit our description of a pilot who goes the extra mile,” said Miles Dunagan, president, NEMSPA. “He always makes safety a priority and is committed to get everyone home safely at the end of each shift.”

The National EMS Pilots Association strives to help the Air Medical Transport industry prosper safely and enhance the delivery of pre-hospital health care by providing the leadership necessary skills to establish standards of operational safety and a forum for the dissemination of knowledge. This organization continues to be a major advocate for positive change for our industry.

Related: Understanding When to Request a Helicopter for Your Patient

ARCH has been committed to providing essential and lifesaving services to the Missouri and Illinois region for more than 40 years. Established in 1979, by St. Louis University (SLU) Medical Center staffers, it was acquired by Air Methods, the leading air medical service in the U.S., in 2000 and continues the program’s excellence in air medical operations. The program is a full-service air medical transport provider and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS). ARCH and Air Methods puts patients first with an industry-leading post-flight Patient Advocacy Program, combined with an in-network approach with insurers nationwide.

“Every day, Ryan demonstrates his commitment to protecting the lives of everyone on board the aircraft we operate,” said Leo Morrissette, executive vice president of operations at Air Methods. “He is an example of professional expertise and a role-model for air medical pilots.  Air Methods is truly honored to have Ryan as a member of Air Methods family.”

Ryan began his career as a pilot seven years ago as a flight instructor. For the last three years, he has

dedicated his service to the ARCH Air Medical Program and is currently stationed at the ARCH base in Granite City, IL.

“I am proud to be part of a team that is making a difference for patients in their most critical time of need,” said Ryan Fretz. “This award is an honor and a testament to the amazing crew I get to work alongside and the work we do to make an impact in my community and the industry.”

The award will be presented to Ryan on Monday, November 1, at the NEMSPA booth during the Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC SHIFT) in Fort Worth, Texas.

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