Two Islander paramedics receive Governer General Exemplary Service Medals

In photo, from left, Chief of EMS Michael MacIsaac, paramedic Rudy Corbiere, Major-General Richard Rohmer, paramedic Bonnie Smeltzer and EMS Deputy Chief Glen Clifford.

LONDON—Two Manitoulin paramedics were recently honoured with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal Award for EMS at the annual Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs conference in London.

The medals were presented at a gala that took place at this year’s conference. Paramedics Rudy Corbiere (who is based in Little Current) and Bonnie Smeltzer (based in Mindemoya) each received their medal from the Governor General’s representative; Canada’s most decorated civilian, retired Major-General Richard Rohmer.

“The Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board (DSB) is extremely proud and pleased to have such a dedicated group of paramedics working for our organization,” said Michael McIsaac, chief of EMS at the DSB, in an emailed release to The Expositor. “It is hard to work in often the most adverse of conditions when people are at their greatest time of need; however these paramedics have been able to do so at the highest of standards over at least 20 years.”

Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB Chair Les Gamble of Spanish-Sable River was effusive in his praise of the two EMS workers when contacted by The Expositor. “We are honoured to have two people with the highest standards of commitment to public service like that put in 20 years of their lives for the benefit of our communities,” he said. “Thank you for a job well done and we hope that we will have them with us for 20 more years at least.”

“The awards are part of the Canadian Honours Programme in which the Governor General makes available Exemplary Service Medals for EMS professionals,” notes the press release from Mr. McIsaac. “These Exemplary Service Medals recognize those persons in high-risk professions who have dedicated themselves to preserving Canada’s public safety through in an exemplary manner, characterized by the highest standards of good conduct, industry and efficiency.”

The EMS Award was created in 1994 and is available to eligible members of the pre-hospital emergency medical service who have served for at least 20 years in a meritorious manner. To qualify, at least 10 of those years of service must have been at street level duty involving potential risk to the individual. “While there is a substantial length of service associated with this award, it is more than just a long service award,” noted EMS Chief McIsaac. “Each individual must be nominated by their service and there must be demonstrative evidence of meritorious service to the communities they serve. The nomination is then put forth to the provincial nominating committee which then reviews the nomination and makes their decision. The Emergency Medical Services medal is one in the Exemplary Services Medal family, along with other public safety professions: Police, Corrections, Fire Services, Canadian Coast Guard and Peace Officer.”