Photo courtesy of Jessica "Zoe" Zaret
Photo courtesy of Jessica "Zoe" Zaret
Elliot Zaret is this year's recipient of the Fairfax County 2012 Basic Life Support Provider of the Year Award. In addition to his patient care and mentoring, Elliot spent countless hours utilizing his woodworking skills crafting a table that now graces the new firestation.
Editor's note: Below is Great Falls Volunteer Fire Department President Joan Bliss' nomination of Elliot Zaret for the EMT of the Year Award.
A person can be recommended as EMT of the Year for any number of reasons.
Spectacular life-saving efforts, of course, are noteworthy, but it's the volunteer EMT who, day in and day out, serves not only the public, and who also helps other volunteers become better EMT's, who deserves mention and recognition at year's end.
Elliot Zaret, an EMT with Great Falls Volunteer Fire Department, Station 12, is an outstanding example of what an EMT should be. Elliot is a skilled, experienced EMT, who rides regularly, and who puts in a large amount of volunteer hours every year. Having witnessed first-hand Elliot's performance in the back of an ambulance, it is obvious that Elliot is a capable caregiver to every patient we encounter.
Luckily, there are many volunteer EMT's in Fairfax who are technically skilled, and who contribute copious hours of their free time serving the public, and they're to be commended, but Elliot offers something more than that.
Every year, volunteers are trained and certified as EMT's in Fairfax County. They have some rudimentary skills, and emerging from the Academy, they face the daunting challenge of showing up at their stations and actually riding in an ambulance. They quickly discover there's a huge chasm between what they learned in class, and what it's like to interact with career EMS personnel and members of the public who are experiencing life-challenging issues.
This chasm between classroom leaming and the real world, and the challenge it presents, cause a great many new EMT's to not ride as much as they could, or to ultimately just quit. It's not uncommon at many stations at monthly meetings for the volunteer chief to ask why more people aren't riding, and at this point for people to be tying their shoes or looking at the ceiling, when the answer is that many people simply aren't comfortable riding, or are unsure of their skills.
This is where Elliot shows his real talent. He is an excellent guide and facilitator to new members at our station. He is always willing to patiently walk a person through every step of working on a ambulance shift, from signing in, to checking the medic or ambulance, to leaming where all the equipment is stored, to ultimately interacting with the patient and performing assessments and interventions that are needed.
Even when he is not actually working on a shift, Elliot will come to the station atany time to help new volunteers become comfortable with the station and units. He will also take the time to ride along with the newly-minted EMT in the ambulance, letting thern-work up to and even past their previous comfort levels.
And it's not just new EMT's. Elliot has been unrelenting in offering to get volunteers who, for any number of reasons, have stopped or lessened their riding time, to get back on board, to become comfortable once againworking in the ambulance.
In addition to Elliot's work as an EMT and a mentor, Elliot has also been extremely helpful in some of the administrative tasks of the station. Elliot helped organized both our 70ft Anniversary celebration as well as our Open House. And whenever someone is needed to pitch in, Elliot is always one of the first to volunteer his time and energies. o'Best Woodworking EMT of the Year," I would Finally, if there were a nomination for nominate Elliot for that as well, as over the course of countless hours this past year, he has painstakingly rebuilt and restored our decades-old wood dining table. Elliot didn't simply sand and refinish the table, but crafted it into a work of art, inlaying the station logo in the center and hand carving the legs. The table is now the centerpiece of our firehouse. Elliot has also pitched in his woodworking skills around the station building a large frame for a commemorative flag, and crafting a set of wooden rails used to hang awards in the station which he built from Great Falls oak trees he milled himself.
Not only is Elliot a superlative EMT, but equally importantly, he has the gift of helping others to become better EMT's, and for these reasons, I nominate Elliot Zuet as Volunteer EMT of the Year for 2012.