On Centre | Around Bellefonte: Bellefonte EMS banquet to honor members

Military, police and firefighters are often publicly recognized for their heroic deeds with ribbons, medals and accolades.

But emergency medical personnel often fall short of the public eye when their actions are just as vital as the public servants they support. So EMS crews take the time to recognize their own.

Bellefonte Emergency Medical Services will hold its annual banquet in honor of those who have served the organization, both past and present, on Feb. 28. It’s a chance for current and past members to have a part of an evening to themselves and acknowledge the hard work they and their colleagues have given to the organization.

Bellefonte EMS started as the Logan Fire Company in 1949, director and chief Scott Rhoat said, and reorganized into the EMS in 1994. Several banquets have been held to honor its staff, but it didn’t become an annual event until 2007.

“We have as part of our normal operations and uniform a process to award commendations,” he said, “which are worn on the uniform.”

Inspired by the ribbons worn above the badge on police uniforms, the ribbons represent the honor, valor and bravery of the personnel, he said. The review process is done through the organization, but staff can also make recommendations for particular awards.

Personnel are recognized for valor and bravery, Rhoat said, but also for specific events, such as pre-hospital delivery of an infant — of which two are expected to be honored — or pre-hospital saves, where EMS crew prevented a critical patient’s death prior to arrival at the hospital.

EMS will go out of service from about 4 p.m. to about 8 p.m. that evening, he said, covered by neighboring services so everyone is able to relax for a bit. Active and former members are invited, as well as county commissioners, municipal supervisors and the police chiefs of Spring Township and Bellefonte.

Bellefonte EMS responded to about 4,000 calls last year, he said, 2,300 of which were emergency calls.