Summit Fire & EMS senior medic honored with state award
Summit Fire & EMS Senior Medic Wendy Miller was awarded with the Francis Mildred Roth Women in EMS Award during a ceremony at the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado’s annual conference in Keystone on Saturday, Nov. 6.
Miller has served the Summit County community for the past 32 years with the former Summit County Ambulance Service and Summit Fire & EMS, and her colleagues say the recognition was well deserved.
“She’s just one of those undyingly enthusiastic people,” said Summit Fire Division Chief of EMS James Woodworth, who has worked with Miller for the past 23 years. “She’s always positive; she’s always willing to help her community. I would say that’s her greatest attribute is just her commitment to the community.”
It was that commitment to community that led Miller into the emergency medical field to begin with. An Ohio native, she moved to Summit County in 1975 after high school to do the “ski bum thing” for a while. She later attended Colorado State University, where she graduated with a degree in education and a minor in coaching, which is how she got interested in physical education and topics like anatomy and physiology. She joined the ambulance service in 1989, back when it was still a volunteer agency.
“I never wanted to be one of those people who stood on the sidelines watching somebody in pain or needing help and not knowing what to do, not being able to help,” Miller said. “So taking those classes put me in a position where I could help. I really liked that.”
She’s been with the organization ever since — primarily part time while working full time in the hospitality management industry — through its transition to a full-time professional service and its eventual merger with Summit Fire in 2019. She worked her way up from an EMT-basic to a paramedic and into her current role as a senior medic.
Miller still serves as a medic on an ambulance, but she also spends much of her time teaching: training new team members, leading CPR and automated external defibrillator classes, working with local students on hands-only CPR and Stop the Bleed training, and serving as an advocate for mental health first aid and peer support among her colleagues.
“When I got into teaching CPR and first aid, that brought a whole new level to everything because I knew I could really make a difference,” Miller said. “With CPR, the first link in the chain of survival is the first people on scene when someone goes into cardiac arrest. So it’s been a big push to get as many people as we can to know how to do CPR because it makes a difference, and we’ve made such a big difference since we’ve been teaching high-performance CPR with the community and within the EMS organizations. … Our save rate has skyrocketed since we started doing all of this.”
In addition to the work she’s done to assist the community, Summit Fire Chief Travis Davis said she has also been an instrumental presence for the organization in the process of merging with Summit County Ambulance Service.
“She is one of our more tenured members of the EMS community here in Summit County, and she seemingly really has just dug in and engaged in the transition process,” Davis said. “… I think in a nutshell, her ability to transition from what was to now what is becoming the future speaks volumes to her character and how she navigates things. She’s a quiet presence but certainly very engaged and community oriented.”
The Francis Mildred Roth Women in EMS Award, named for one of the first women to serve as an emergency medical professional in Colorado, is handed out annually to “outstanding women who have helped carve out the history of Colorado EMS” and who have made a difference through “innovative contributions at a local, state or national level,” according to the Emergency Medical Services Association.
Miller said she was honored to receive the recognition.
“I was very humbled and very honored because it was very unexpected,” she said. “… Community means a lot to me, and I like giving back.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.