FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
We are pleased to report that Greene County Emergency Medical Services (GCEMS) received a Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) 2023 Achievement Award. Greene County had 155 days to create its own EMS department amid the Coronavirus Pandemic and it has since become a model program in the Commonwealth.
“In a short period of time, the Greene County EMS has grown from a new department to one recognized by the state for its excellence,” said Greene County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dale Herring. “This is due to the staff’s commitment to putting our citizens first above all else. Greene is fortunate to have such dedicated individuals working for and with our community.”
Greene County faced a trio of challenges in 2020, in addition to the global pandemic.
First, a decrease in volunteer recruitment over the years caused the county’s volunteer rescue squad—which had served the community for more than 50 years—to dissolve, requiring more resources to go toward the county’s contracted ambulance provider. Four months later, that provider told the county it would sever its contract within six months. Finally, the Board of Supervisors approved the creation of the Greene County Emergency Medical Services. It usually takes months and sometimes years of planning to launch a career EMS agency, but Greene County had 155 days. And on October 14, 2020, the new squad hit the street at 0600 hours. However, it had to do that without a building of its own and with inherited equipment from the then-volunteer rescue squad. One ambulance was taken out of service immediately due to safety concerns. The building official condemned the volunteer rescue squad building. The county has increased funding year after year for staffing and built a new squad building to the tune of $2.5 million, but the budget lacks funding for additional capital needs. GCEMS truly comes from humble beginnings starting with 10 EMTs and 12 Paramedics (some full time and some part-time) to 17 EMTs and 20 Paramedics today and a waiting list to join the department when an opening arrives. Since its beginnings, GCEMS has answered more than 6,500 calls for service with the number of calls increasing by 10% from 2020-2022. If the current pace continues for 2023, GCEMS will exceed 3,500 calls for service this calendar year alone. It is expected that by the end of this calendar year, three fully staffed medic units per 24-hour shift will be necessary to meet the needs of the community.
VACo received 135 submissions for the 2023 Achievement Awards, which recognizes excellence in local government programs, with 33 awards granted.
“I want to thank all who participated in the 21st year of the Achievement Awards,” said VACo Executive Director Dean Lynch. “I am encouraged to see that we received 135 submissions, our highest total ever. This tells me that the VACo Achievement Awards’ mission of identifying and celebrating the innovated work by local government officials continues to resonate with our counties. We thank all who participated and give special recognition to those who won an award.”
Judges for this year’s awards were Charles Hartgrove, ICMA-CM, Director of the Virginia Institute of Government; Dr. Sheryl Bailey, visiting Professor of Practice at Virginia Tech and former Chesterfield County Deputy County Administrator; and Larry Land, retired VACo Director of Policy Development. The VACo Achievement Awards is a competitive program open to local government members of the association.
To read GCEMS’ full submission, visit www.vaco.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/GreeneEMS23.pdf. To see the full list of winners, visit www.vaco.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/23Winners.pdf.