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May 20, 2022

Southeast Texas EMS Heroes Recognized by The Medical Center of Southeast Texas at Annual Banquet

On Wednesday, May 18, in conjunction with the celebration of National EMS Week, The Medical Center of Southeast Texas hosted its annual Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Stewards of the Community awards for the first time since 2019. The event recognized two EMS providers who not only carry out the noble work of caring for others, but do so with a degree of expertise, professionalism, and compassion that makes them leaders in their field.

This year’s recipients were Frances Garza with Acadian Ambulance Texas and Ashlee Noble-Smith with Air Rescue Southeast Texas. The recipients were nominated by the community and their peers.

EMS Banquet Award Winners

From left to right: Beth Melancon (accepting on behalf of Ashlee Noble-Smith), Office Coordinator, Life Saving Tactics and Training, LLC and Frances Garza, Operations Supervisor, Acadian Ambulance Texas

“At the Medical center of Southeast Texas, we consider first responders a part of our team, our family. These dedicated professionals carryout their work selflessly in all types of conditions. Working with all first responders in a team approach is paramount in showing our support to them and allowing all of us to better serve our community together,” said Lydia Worthen, Emergency Management Coordinator and EMS Liaison for The Medical Center of Southeast Texas.

Frances Garza, an EMS provider since 2001, worked her way up from and EMT-1 and Field Training officer to Paramedic Field Supervisor and is now Operations Supervisor and Paramedic. She served during multiple disasters including an Interstate-10 140 car pile-up on Thanksgiving Day 2012 and numerous severe weather events, including Hurricane Harvey. “Mama Frances” is highly respected by her co-workers, local fire departments and hospital staff because of the love and support she provides.

Ashlee Noble-Smith is a certified flight paramedic with Air Rescue Southeast Texas and has almost 20 years’ experience in EMS. She is the owner and educator for Life Saving Tactics and Training LLC since 2017, is a Domestic and International Paramedic Instructor and Operations Lab Manager for the School of EMS since 2019 and serves on a local, state, and national peer support team. She has responded during numerous storms to assist in providing patient care, landing aircraft, and lending a helping hand in overwhelmed emergency departments. “One of the best feelings there is besides saving a life is having a student call you and tell you about a scene they ran and how something you said or taught them played a positive role in the patient outcome,” says Noble-Smith.

EMS AwardsTop picture from left to right: Javier Deloza, Director Emergency Services–Steward Health Care, Beth Melancon (accepting on behalf of Ashlee Noble-Smith), Office Coordinator–Life Saving Tactics and Training, LLC, Josh Snow, President and CEO–The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, Martie Broussard, Registered Nurse, Emergency Department Clinical Coordinator–The Medical Center ofSoutheast Texas, Lydia Worthen, Emergency Management Coordinator/EMS Liaison–The Medical Center of Southeast Texas
Bottom picture from left to right: Butch Holmes, Community Relations Supervisor,=–Acadian Ambulance Texas, Monica Birdsong, Operations Coordinator–Acadian Ambulance Texas, Eddie Burleigh, Operations Manager–Acadian Ambulance Texas, Javier Deloza, Director Emergency Services–Steward Health Care, Brandon Hebert, Fellow Co-Worker– Acadian Ambulance Texas, Josh Snow, President and CEO–The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, Frances Garza, Operations Supervisor– Acadian Ambulance Texas, Cal Bynum, Licensed Paramedic, Quality Improvement Coordinator–Acadian Ambulance Texas, Martie Broussard, Registered Nurse, Emergency Department Clinical Coordinator–The Medical Center of Southeast Texas, Lydia Worthen, Emergency Management Coordinator/EMS Liaison–TheMedical Center of Southeast Texas, Stephanie Valka-Garsea, Regional Business Development–Acadian Ambulance Texas

“I feel privileged to be part of an organization that aligns with the mission of our EMS providers and recognizing the contributions and sacrifices they make while delivering critical care in the community,” said Josh Snow, President and CEO of The Medical Center of Southeast Texas.

The keynote speaker for the event was Emergency Management Coordinator for Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) Jeremy Way. With over 20 years’ experience in Emergency Management/Preparedness as Patrol/SWAT officer, certified firefighter, fire science instructor, and a paramedic, he shared a message of perception of EMS versus the heart of a true EMS first responder.

“I am so incredibly blessed to do what I do. My position allows me to be able to bridge the gap between first responders and the hospital. I have the opportunity to find ways to integrate our work, learn from each other, and train together. That integration strengthens our relationships and better prepares us all to respond and care for the people we serve,” says Worthen.