Local EMS providers honored with award for heroism and service
MOOSIC, LACKWANNA COUNTY (WOLF) -- First responders Mike Ankenbrand and Emmett Thomas had no idea they'd be throwing out the first pitch of Friday night's RailRider's baseball game at PNC Field.
"I'm shocked, not going to lie.. I'm a little overwhelmed," Ankenbrand said, an EMT and Deputy Chief of Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance.
Because Friday they're being honored with the first ever Bob and Alice Walsh Award for heroism, for Geisinger's 2018 EMS Week.
After a night they also didn't see coming.
"When their ambulance was struck in a head on collision, they extricated themselves, and provided care to the patient they were transporting, as well as the persons driving the vehicle and the ambulance," announced Scott Danowsky, EMS Coordinator for Geisinger.
"It's still crazy, you know. People ask: how would you describe it? I say, one word: horrific," Ankenbrand shared.
"I think about it all the time. I mean, there were a lot of things that could have gone a lot different. But because Mike and I were together, I believe it worked out the way it was supposed to," Thomas said.
The ambulance was totaled in the head on collision, and both medics were pretty banged up, but they still responded the way they're trained: to help others.
"I try to do anything I can for anybody. I don't like to make a big deal about anything, you know, and this is kind of a different place for me because I'm not used to it," said Thomas.
Also nominated this year: the paramedics on scene of the tragic fire in Laflin that took the lives of three children.
"With a kid, you don't wanna take your time doing anything that you do," said paramedic Joe Chiumento with the GPRA.
All nominated say they're full of gratitude, and are overwhelmingly humble.
"We do what we do every day because that's the way I was trained and that's what I've been doing for 30 something years," Thomas said.
"I'll be the first one to tell you I didn't deserve it. I just went to work that day doing my job. Nothing about what happened that night, or any night for that matter, any time anything happens, you don't do anything special. You don't sign up to get awards or anything like that, said Chiumento.