Nashville, TN

Local EMS Teams Receive Awards in Nashville

John M. Dabbs

EMS responders received consecutive Star Of Life Awards at the annual awards banquet in Nashville, Tennesse Wednesday night.
CECA-TN Star of Life AwardsJohn Dabbs/Photographer

The 2020 awards were postponed due to COVID-19. This year's ceremony recognized winners from the 2020 and 2021 awards. Criteria for submissions include:

  • Must have occurred during the prior calendar year (2019 for the 2020 awards)
  • The patient must survive and be neurlogically intact
  • The patient care report paperwork must be accurate and complete.

2020 Star Of Life Winner
Zachary Hartley - WC-JC EMS 2020 recipientJohn Dabbs/Photographer

The 2020 winner of the Region 1 Star Of Life Award was Washington County-Johnson City EMS employee Zachary Hartley. Hartley responded to the Willow Tree Coffeehouse on Main Street to a collapsed performer in Rescue 1, out the EMS station near city hall.

Hartley arrived to find a pulseless, unresponsive man in floor with bystanders performing CPR. Applying an AED, he worked to resuscitate the man before WC-JC EMS' Medic-1 arrived on scene. Hartley managed to restart the man's heart and he was transported to the Johnson City Medical Center, where he was treated for his condition. He was discharged later thanks to Hartley's quick efforts.

Washington County crews rescue family from flood

Heavy rains plagued the northeast Tennessee area on February 6, 2020. Widespread flooding impacted many communities across northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

Washington County-Johnson City EMS ambulance and rescue crews responded to a call in Gray where a man and his son were trapped in a vehicle covered by flood waters. Supervisors responded to assist the ambulance and rescue crews. They arrived to find the man and his son trapped in a car filled with flood-waters. Bystanders were holding their heads above the water.
WC-JC EMS 2021 Star of Life Award WinnersJohn Dabbs/Photographer

The team worked for 20 minutes to free the man, who was suffering from hypothermia. It would be a total of 43 minutes before the son was extricated. He too was suffering from hypothermia and had a seizure after being freed from the wreckage. The duo were treated and agressively warmed enroute to the Johnson City Medical Center.

The two were discharged after being treated for their injuries. Neither of them suffered lasting neurological deficits. WC-JC EMS responders recognized at the awards ceremony include: Deputy Chief Todd Fleenor, Division Chief Keith Ellis, Sgt. Mitchell Walker, Michael Connally, Timothy Mize, and Brandon Kurfees.

These men were awarded the 2021 - Region 1, Tennessee CECA Star of Life Award.

About the CECA Star of Life Awards

The EMS Star of Life event honors the accomplishments of EMS personnel across the state of Tennessee, who provide exemplary life-saving care to adult and pediatric patients. The Star of Life Award recognizes exceptional front-line care, with a focus on the agencies and providers who are the first responders (from dispatch to hospital doors). The ceremony reunites the EMS caregivers with the people they treated.
Natasha Kurth at the 2021 Star of Life Awards BanquetJohn Dabbs/Photographer

The ceremony presents the true patient scenarios, reuniting the EMS providers with individuals they treated. Recipients are chosen from each of the eight EMS regions in the state. It is the premier event to recognize and honor pre-hospital providers, while also celebrating “EMS Week” within Tennessee.

National EMS Week begins next week. CECA secures program sponsors from stakeholder to fund the Star Of Life Awards program.


The awards ceremony is sponsored by CECA, the Children's Emerency Care Alliance - of Tennessee. CECA-TN is a diverse group of physicians, medical providers and representatives dedicated to comprehensive, family-centered pediatric emergency care, rehabilitation and prevention services that sustain the optimal health care for all children of Tennessee.

Their purpose is to improve pediatric emergency care in Tennessee. They do this by offering or locating quality continuing education programs and providing links to the programs, providing a vast array of resources for emergency responders, and through public education programs that strive to educate the public on safety and preparing for emergencies. (

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Johnson City, TN

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