Of at least eight awards handed out April 25 during the State Emergency Medical Technicians Convention in Hutchinson, three went to individuals from Marion County.
JoAnn Knak of Hillsboro, former longtime director of Marion County Emergency Medical Services and EMS instructor, received the Bob Orth award for a lifetime of service.
Knak’s tenure dates from the early 1970s, when the federal government mandated counties to provide emergency services. Prior to that time, funeral homes provided ambulance service.
Knak took CPR training and served on an ambulance crew until June 1981, when she was appointed director of Marion County Emergency Medical Services. She retired from that position in January 2005, but remains active in the department.
She serves as an EMT on the Hillsboro crew and is an IC (Instructor Coordinator). She currently assists county director Steve Smith in obtaining his IC certification.
EMT Larry Larsen of Peabody received the Outstanding Attendant award. He has served on the Peabody crew for 21 years. Knak was his instructor.
Larsen was a paramedic in Wichita for 15 years. He retired from Sedgwick County in June 2006, but continues on the EMS crew at Peabody.
He also serves as an instructor for various entities, providing continuing education for EMTs, paramedics, LifeTeam employees, and hospital personnel. At Wichita State University, he instructs students studying to be physician’s assistants.
Delores Dalke, mayor of Hillsboro, received an award as the “most supportive” elected official, because of her service to Hillsboro EMS personnel.
“I was surprised,” Dalke said, about winning the award. “It really should have gone to the whole city council because the mayor can’t do anything by herself.”
Dalke said the city has awarded Hillsboro EMS crews at times for the service they have provided to Hillsboro.
These include scholarships for Hillsboro residents who take EMT classes, winter jackets with logos, shirts with logos, a Stryker cot, a Stryker stair chair, and a defibrillator.
Hillsboro was the first to house ambulances in its city building. It also provides space for EMT classes and crew meetings. The council recently approved a scholarship for a Hillsboro EMT to take intermediate training at Hutchinson Community College. An EMTI is certified to provide intravenous services.