BOSTON – Boston Emergency Medical Services will hold its 21st annual awards banquet tonight, November 1st, at 6 p.m. at the Venezia Restaurant, located at 20 Ericsson St. in Dorchester.  Several members of Boston EMS will receive awards that recognize their outstanding performance in going above and beyond normal duties to provide the highest quality care for patients.

“It’s truly an honor to celebrate so many of our members for their service tonight,” said Chief James Hooley.  “Our EMTs and paramedics demonstrate their dedication to helping the people of Boston with the excellent care they provide every day, and it’s nice to have an opportunity to recognize that hard work.  This has been an especially challenging year for the department, which makes us all appreciate this time to celebrate with our families a little bit more.”

Among the top awards presented will be the Medal of Honor, which is awarded to members of the department that put their life on the line in order to respond to the call of duty, and the Medal of Valor, which recognizes heroic acts that surpass normal expectations of duty.  The Medal of Honor recipients included Lt. John Cotter, EMT Chris Holgate, and Paramedic Randy Souza for their life-saving efforts in response to the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15th.

“There’s no shortage of heroes to recognize at Boston EMS, and it’s always impressive to look back on the outstanding performances over the course of a year,” said Barbara Ferrer, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, of which Boston EMS is a bureau.  “While we take a moment to honor the special achievements of several individuals, this is really an evening to celebrate the exemplary service that everyone at Boston EMS delivers day in and day out.”

The annual Legion of Merit award is being presented to Captain Robert Haley for his exceptional performance on the job this past year.  Captain Haley oversees the Special Operations Division.

The Boston EMS EMT of the Year honor will go to EMT Thomas Alfieri, while Paramedic Rich Graham will accept the Paramedic of the Year Award.  Both individuals distinguished themselves through exemplary practice of emergency care and contributions to the advancement of EMS.

In total, 116 honors will be awarded to department members at the ceremony, and 25 service ribbons will be presented to members that have reached 25, 30 and 35 years of service.

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