2013 Local Paramedics Awarded American Ambulance Association Star of Life in Washington D.C.


Community Care Ambulance along with some help from US Senator Robert Portman recognized four CCA employees for the outstanding service and leadership they provide to the community in their field and setting the foundation for the celebration of EMS Week this May.

For the 7th year, Community Care Ambulance (CCA) has joined the American Ambulance Association (AAA) to recognize exemplary field providers by traveling to Washington D.C. to celebrate the STARS of Life Program.    Critical Intensive Care Paramedics – Amy Bernato, Mike Ferron, Michael Van Norman and Paramedic Paula Shenal were four Community Care Ambulance employees chosen to receive this prestigious award through a nomination from their peers and leadership at CCA.

Amy Bernato, Critical Intensive Care Paramedic illustrates a progressive record of ambitious achievements since 2001 when she joined CCA.  As the Eastern Area Operations Manager, Amy is a key resource for day-to-day operational improvements and implementing operational decisions, designing EMS-required documentation and reporting for chest pain and stroke patients.

In her primary EMS service area, Amy works with CCA personnel to decrease ambulance response times and to effectively administer 12-Lead EKGs and Aspirin for all cardiac patients in less than ten minutes.  Amy is a State of Ohio certified EMS instructor, member of National Association of EMS Educators and also an American Heart Association faculty member.  Amy teaches more than 90 hours during annual EMS refresher courses for CCA personnel and volunteers her time teaching EMS refreshers for multiple community departments’ personnel.

Amy joined CCA in 2001 as a part-time EMT and began her full-time work with the company in 2005.  Amy’s career progressed from an EMT Basic (2001), cross-training into Dispatch (2001) followed by obtaining her Paramedic card (2004), Critical Care Provider Certification (2007) and State of Ohio EMS Instructor certificate (2009).  Amy was promoted to Field Supervisor in 2008, then promoted to serve as the Education, Performance Improvement Quality Manager in 2009, and awarded CCA’s Eastern Operations Manager in 2011.

Mike Ferron, Critical Intensive Care Paramedic has provided CCA with over 15 years of dedicated EMS service and has served in several leadership positions including communications and operations. Mike Started his EMS Career in 1990 in the Volunteer Fire/EMS service and still continues serving as a firefighter paramedic in addition to being a full time employee with CCA. Mike began his career as an EMT and progressed to a Paramedic in 1995 and was part of one the first critical care programs in CCA’s service area for paramedics. In addition to being a Critical Care Paramedic Mike also is a State of Ohio EMS Instructor, certified as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher and has acted as a Strike Team Leader in disaster relief efforts.  As a vital part of CCA’s new hire employment orientation program Mike provides safe and effective patient handling and moving techniques along with bariatric education.  He has also initiated and participated in facility education to reduce injury and provide lifting assistance to CCA crews on specialty patients.  Mike leads CCA’s employee engagement “Employee Fun” project team and is famous for his delicious EMS Week breakfasts where he showcases his chef skills serving breakfasts alongside management in recognition of staff.

Mike’s peer nomination stems from his willingness to help his coworkers and his dedication to the EMS profession.

Michael Van Norman, Critical Intensive Care Paramedic has a long growing history with CCA and has demonstrated his abilities to grow in his profession providing his patients and coworkers with the knowledge he has gained in his career.  Michael started at Community Care as a Wheel Chair technician in 2002 and furthered his education to become an EMT basic, then Paramedic and currently a Critical Care Paramedic serving as an Operation Supervisor.  He has an admirably strong passion to mentor his co-workers with an outside of the box perspective nurturing trust and leadership.  Michael is the oversight from Operations on the repetitive patient process and responsible for daily vehicle accountability resulting in maximized operation team efficiency.  Michael takes pride in his daily interactions and consistently looks for continuous improvements having a positive impact on CCA field staff as well as the organization.

Michael’s ability to interrelate with field staff and assist them in problem resolution and process improvement earned him a staff nomination for this year’s 2013 Star of Life.  Michael is looked to for support and friendship from his peers as well as professional advice and leadership. Michael also has served with a volunteer community fire department as a Paramedic Fire Fighter for several years.

Paula Shenal, Paramedic has the unique perspective of working with and leading EMS personnel as the industry has evolved during the more than 24 years she has been in EMS and public service.  Paula joined CCA in 2011 to serve as the organization’s Western Area Operations Manager.

As an empowered manager and effective communicator, Paula serves as an immediate and local resource ensuring patients receive prompt and appropriate medical transportation services in CCA’s Western Area.

Paula has a strong focus for employee engagement and mentoring EMS personnel so they can become the leaders of tomorrow. Paula began her EMS career in 1988 as an EMT/Firefighter with the Auburn Ohio Volunteer Fire Department and SeaWorld Cleveland.  At SeaWorld Cleveland, she served 16 years progressing to the position of Supervisor of Environmental, Health and Safety, where she took a keen interest in occupational medicine, safety and service excellence.  Paula is recognized by staff as a supporter of employee morale and the employee nomination gives her the honor of being a Star of Life based on her ability to empathetically listen and nurture a positive outlook.

Paula is an active member of local Chamber of Commerce and Safety Councils. She studied General Studies at Kent State University.  In 1994, she became a paramedic through Brown Memorial Hospital in Conneaut Ohio. Paula is also a certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher.

All four individuals have demonstrated excellence in their abilities in EMS and are well respected by CCA and their peers.  The candidates were nominated knowing they would well represent CCA and all EMS professionals as they visited our nation’s Capitol and met with US Senator Robert Portman to discuss key issues facing EMS.

The Stars of Life is a special program to publicly recognize and celebrate the achievements of these individuals and others from across the US in our nation’s capitol.  CCA would also like to recognize and congratulate the additional 24 employees that were nominated for the STARS program in Washington D.C.   The 2013 STARS are: Courtney Schroeter, Jeremiah Smith, Richard Schoville, Dawn Spriggs,  Ryan Slaybaugh, Dwayne Nieder, Kayla Poore, Mike Goodwill, Tim Conrad Sr., Ronda Mullins, Tonya Chance.

The STARS (Bernato, Ferron, Van Norman, Shenal) selected to attend the ceremony,along with Julie Rose, CCA Executive Director and member of the AAA Board of Directors began their celebration in D.C. by attending a banquet to recognize EMS individuals from across the nation.  These individuals were awarded medals as a symbol of appreciation for all that they have done as leading EMS professionals.

Back home the STARS and CCA will hold a celebration for the nationally recognized EMS week.  National Emergency Medical Services Week is designated to encourage awareness of our nation’s EMS system to the public.

Community Care Ambulance (CCA) is a private, regional, non-profit organization established in 1994 and headquartered in Ashtabula, with satellite stations in Geauga and Lake Counties.  CCA provides community 9-1-1 services, critical care transports, and non-emergency ambulance transports in the Northeast Ohio Region.   CCA is proud to employ over 180 professionals in the Northeast Ohio region.  CCA’s corporate office phone number is (440) 992-7302.

“Community Care Ambulance, providing the highest quality healthcare services to the communities we serve resulting in superior satisfaction”.

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