Paramedic faculty members honoured with Governor General’s medal

 Two of Fleming College’s faculty members in the Paramedic program have been recognized for their esteemed service in the field.

John Fader and Sean Johnston received the Governor General’s Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal in September at a special ceremony in Ottawa.

Fleming faculty member and former Paramedic program coordinator Colleen Rafton nominated John for his 30-plus years of service. John’s career started with Toronto EMS where he was one of the first Advanced Care paramedics in Toronto. John was one of two paramedics to develop and teach Toronto’s first in-house Advanced Life Support paramedic program.

He then came to Peterborough to run the Base Hospital program (a paramedic oversight program). He assisted in the development and ground-breaking for Fleming’s Paramedic program and was its first full-time faculty and coordinator.

John said he was humbled but very honoured to receive the award.

“I have been on the forefront of many aspects of EMS as it has developed in Ontario over the past 35 years and I am just as passionate about the profession now as I was when I started 35 years ago,” he said.

“He is a seasoned and well-respected member of the EMS community,” said Paramedic program coordinator Mary Osinga.

Sean Johnston received the Exemplary Service Medal for 25-plus years of service in EMS. He was nominated by his home service Northumberland EMS.

He started in the mid-1980s at Centennial College in Toronto and went on to work in Northumberland County as a full-time paramedic.

Sean was also one of the first Advanced Care Paramedics in this region, trained about 10 years ago during the Ontario Prehospital Advanced Life Support (OPALS) program. (In fact, John was actually involved in Sean’s OPALS training as he was one of the OPALS research site investigators while he was Base Hospital manager.) Sean has worked in a variety of roles at Fleming including clinical instructor, partial load didactic and lab instructor and preceptor.

“He is one of the core invaluable part-time staff we employ,” said Osinga.

According to Rafton, who is a Paramedic faculty member and former coordinator of the program, there are few acknowledgements available for paramedics. The Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal spoke to career accomplishments as it recognizes years of service as well as impact on the profession, she said.

Medal recipients must display a positive work ethic, be a team player and a role model as well as have a desire to improve and promote industry change, and illustrate excellence in patient care.

“John has been involved with paramedicine for over 30 years and in that time has focused on advocating for patients and the profession,” said Rafton. “His desire to improve has led him to where he is today – a faculty member and former coordinator for eight years within the Paramedic program here at Fleming, where he continues to emulate all the qualities of an exemplary paramedic. He is very deserving of this award.”

Rafton added that she has had the privilege of working with Sean in the Paramedic program for several years.

“He too embodies the qualities of an exemplary paramedic and is able to share his knowledge and compassion in the classroom as a preceptor.”

Sean was nominated for the Contract Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching last year. He is a real asset to the program, said Rafton.

“We are proud of both these individuals and their accomplishments during their career. We count ourselves very fortunate that they contribute to the applied learning here at Fleming College in our Paramedic program,” said Osinga.

The EMS Exemplary Medal was created in 1994 to recognize professionals in the provision of pre-hospital emergency medical services to the public who have performed their duties in an exemplary manner, characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency.

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