Area paramedic receives top honors at state ceremony

LeFlore County Emergency Medical Services and employees were honored during the annual Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technician Association banquet. Anthony Stankewitz, 21, of Spiro, heard his name out called out during an awards ceremony last week in Tulsa as the 2012 Paramedic of the year. The award, which is peer based by nomination, recognized Stankewitz as the top outstanding Paramedic in Oklahoma. His nomination was written by LCEMS Director, Dave Grovdahl.“His nomination was based on his defiance,” said Grovdahl. “His defiance to accept status quo. His defiance to believe he has learned everything. His constant studying and learning new concepts two progress the emergency medical system.”Stankewitz, unaware of his nomination for the award, was sent to the conference for further training and on banquet night, Grovdahl suggested he attend the banquet with him. Little did Stankewitz know, there was more than one surprise waiting for him. “We smuggled his (Stankewitz) family to the banquet without his knowledge,” said Grovdahl. “We hid them at a back table and tried to keep him from seeing them.”It wasn’t until after Stankewitz accepted his award that his eyes fell upon his family. More than 10 members of his family had traveled to the banquet to witness him receive the award. “I was surprised when they called my name,” said Stankewitz. “It was a big honor to be peer voted as Paramedic of the Year. I was also surprised to see my family.”A third surprise for Stankewitz also came during the conference. He has been battling the return of cancer and throughout had continued to work. He has received several chemotherapy treatments and is scheduled to undergo a blood marrow transplant. During the conference those present were given the opportunity to donate blood. According to Grovdahl, a typical collection of 50-60 units of blood occurs. This year, 78 units were donated and 30 of those were donated to Stankewitz. The donations greatly help to discount the cost of medical treatment if he needs a blood transfusion. “People that didn’t know him donated blood for him.” said Grovdahl. LCEMS also received a top state award as Advanced EMS system of the year. The nominations were voted on by the board of OEMTA. Grovdahl said LCEMS was selected because of their advanced cardiac and stroke care program.“We have been working very hard for the past three years,” said Grovdahl. “The acknowledgment by the state speaks of the progress we have made.”