Dozens of first responders were honoured for their work during the Humboldt Broncos bus crash at this year’s Emergency Medical Services Provincial Awards in Regina on Thursday.
Twenty-six paramedics from Nipawin, Melfort and Tisdale, and five telecommunications staff from Parkland Ambulance took home the Star of Life medal. The award recognizes outstanding commitment and acts of bravery.
The Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a semi on the way to a playoff game in Nipawin on April 6, 2018. Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured in the crash.
Jessica Brost, North East EMS owner and operations manager, was one of the Star of Life recipients. Brost was about to go home for the day when the call came in. She was the third one on the scene from her EMS team.
“I remember everything about that call. It’s almost like it was yesterday,” Brost said. “Once we were on scene, we transported to the hospital, helped out at the hospital and then transported each one of those patients to the airport with the flight crews.”
Brost says the crash highlighted the needs of first responders, leading to funding and donations for mental health supports. It also changed the way Brost goes about her day-to-day life.
“It really changed the way you perceive life and not to take things too seriously,” Brost said. “You never know when it will be changed in any event.”
While the medal won’t change the outcome of the Humboldt tragedy, it’s a reminder of the important role played by first responders.
“To be able to be standing in front of their peers is truly humbling; it’s truly gratifying. It is extremely powerful and very rewarding for them,” said Lyle Karasiuk, Parkland Ambulance public affairs director.
More than 40 paramedics and telecommunication staff received awards for exemplary service and outstanding commitment at a ceremony at the Government House.
The awards coincide with Paramedic Services Week. This year’s theme is “celebrating success.”