HED: NMMC EMTs capture two of three statewide awards
By Marty Russell
Two North Mississippi Medical Center employees have been singled out by their peers as the best emergency services personnel in the state.
The Mississippi Emergency Medical Technician Association annually recognizes four of its members as the best in their field. At its annual meeting in Biloxi recently, the more-than-200-member group chose Ike Roebuck as the best EMT administrator in the state and Tommy Owings as the best EMT Advanced.
Roebuck serves as director of NMMC’s ground-based emergency services unit, overseeing operation of the hospital’s ambulance service. Owings is an EMT Advanced or paramedic with the service.
“We’re set up to give four awards annually, but we only gave three this year,” said Pat Kelly, outgoing president of the MEMTA and an employee of Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville. The four categories are EMT Basic, EMT Advanced, EMT Administrator and EMT Educator.
“We did not present a basic award this year,” Kelly said. “We just didn’t receive any nominees.”
She said any member of the group is eligible to submit nominations, and all nominations are then turned over to a committee that makes the final decision.
Dixie Litton, an EMS educator at Hinds Community College, received the educator award.
Roebuck has been with NMMC for about nine years after serving as a paramedic with the Jackson Fire Department.
“I was certainly honored to get the award for myself; I certainly wasn’t expecting it,” said Roebuck, 37. “I think it really shows the quality of service we have here as far as overall personnel. We’ve got 25 employees, and they’re all good people.”
Kelly said it was unusual for two of the association’s three award winners to come from the same hospital.
“It really is unusual,” she said. “We usually try to spread it around. But with the qualifications of both of these guys, all of the committee felt they were the most deserving.”
Owings has been with NMMC 20 of his 39 years. He is an EMT Advanced, which most people associate as being a paramedic with more extensive medical training than an EMT Basic.
Owings, who also said he was pleased to receive the honor from his peers, envisions an even more expanded role for EMTs in the future as technology improves what can be done outside an emergency room setting.
“In the future I can see us more as a rolling emergency room,” he said of the ambulance EMTs and future technology, such as computer links to physicians. “We could go to the different communities and people who are sick could come and see us without having to go to a crowded hospital. … In a way, technology is going to treat you in the field as well as a doctor could.”