June 2019

SVCC Truck Driving Graduates Hear from Top Driver

Duncan Quicke(left)a Truck Driving Coordinator, Southside Virginia Community College and Nikki Weaver, guest speaker.

By Meredith Feinman

Southside Virginia Community College Truck Driver Training graduations in April featured a truly inspiring graduation speaker.  Nikki Weaver has two major passions in her life – her eight-year-old son and truck driving. She is a road driver for Federal Express Freight with a  route that consists of pulling twin trailers from Harrisburg, PA to Old Washington, OH and back. This totals 570 miles a day, and she completes the route five days per week. Weaver has been a dependable and loyal employee, only working for three trucking companies in the past 18 years. Amazingly, she has accumulated 1.7 million accident and citation free miles.

In 1986, American Trucking Associations established America’s Road Team. Sponsored by Volvo and Mack trucks, this team attempts to educate the public about the importance of trucking. Approximately 2,000 drivers from across the country are nominated by various companies to serve as road team captains. These captains have the goal of improving the public’s perception of the trucking industry.

For 2019-2020, Weaver was one of only 18 chosen to serve as a captain on America’s Road Team. In addition, three other women were chosen to be part of the 18 captains, making this the largest contingent of women to serve since the beginning of America’s Road Team.

SVCC has offered a program in Truck Driver Training 1997 graduating the first class in February of that year.  Duncan Quicke has been program coordinator since it began. 

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Petersburg Kiwanians Help Jackson-Feild

On a recent beautiful – but windy – Saturday morning, volunteers from Petersburg Breakfast Kiwanis Club arrived bright and early and got right to work on a much-needed project on the Jackson-Feild campus.

The decking around the modular buildings that house the Gwaltney School had weathered over time and was in dire need of attention. Working several hours on the project, the Kiwanians applied a fresh coat of stain that immediately improved the appearance and helped preserve the wood.

Over the years, members of the Kiwanis Club have helped the children through “hands on” service projects and financial support for specific needs.

The children and staff at Jackson-Feild wishes to thank these wonderful volunteers from the Petersburg Breakfast Kiwanis Club for all they’ve done to benefit the organization.

If you are a member of a civic/service/church group and would like to offer a helping hand for a future project, please contact Vice-President of Advancement Tod Balsbaugh at 804-354-6929 or tbalsbaugh@jacksonfeild.orgto see how you may be of help.

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Summer Fun at the Library

The Meherrin Regional Library invites children of all ages to participate in their Summer Reading Program by keeping track of books read during the summer, and attending FREE events at their closest branch. Children who reach their age group’s reading goal will win a free book. Those who read the most books in their age group will win the Top Reader Grand Prize, with winners announced at the last program on Thursday, July 25th. All movies and events will be held at 10:30 AM at the Brunswick County Library in Lawrenceville, and at 2:00 PM at the Richardson Memorial Library in Emporia.

Monday Movies

June 24th - The Lego Movie: The Second Part

July 1st - How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

July 8th - The Lion King

July 15th - Finding Nemo

July 22nd - Wonder Park

Thursday Main Events

July 27th - Uncle Henry

No program July 4th

July 11th - Ventriloquist Uncle Ty-Rone

July 18th - Hunter Rhodes Magic

July 25th - Author Christine Emery

To learn more about Summer Reading at the Library, stop by your closest branch or contact the Brunswick County Library at (434) 848-2418 x301, or the Richardson Memorial Library at (434) 634-2539. Visit www.meherrinlib.org for more information, or follow the Meherrin Regional Library on Facebook @meherrinregionallibrary.

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Brothers, Twins and SVCC Graduates

Twins Bryan and Ryan Craighead (pictured with their mother Sirvena Craighead) have more than just their birthday in common. As of May 11, 2019, they are now Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) graduates.

From Saxe, Virginia, both graduated from Randolph-Henry High School. The brothers had heard such positive feedback about SVCC that they decided to enroll in classes on the John H. Daniel campus. Bryan chose to study Information Technology, and Ryan chose to study what he has always dreamed of, Administration of Justice. While taking classes, Bryan was employed by SVCC’s Buildings and Grounds department, and Ryan was a part of SVCC’s Safety Patrol and was a Student Ambassador.

Both say that the most meaningful part of their academic journey was the teachers they met through SVCC and how much they truly cared about their students’ success. Bryan would like to thank Joan Tuck for all her support, and Ryan would like to thank Doug Whaley, Judith Vaughan, Wanda Vaughan, and, two important people from the brothers’ church, Loretta Bailey and Reverend Marvin Bowman.

After three years of hard work for Bryan, and two years for Ryan, the brothers earned their Associate degrees. Both are currently pursuing jobs in their relative fields of study, and Ryan plans to continue his education online with Liberty University while working.

When asked if they had advice for current and future SVCC students, their responses were, “Never give up on yourself” and “Be prepared for the unexpected.” Just one out of many stories, these brothers, twins, and now college graduates are an example of how SVCC can put you on the road to success.

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How to Stay Safe From Measles

Emporia, VA – The Virginia Department of Health issued a press release informing people of a possible exposure to measles in the Northern Virginia area. More than 1,000 measles cases have been reported in the United States in 2019. At halfway through the year, this is already the greatest number of cases reported in a year in the U.S. in more than 25 years.

Measles is a serious and highly contagious respiratory disease that can be dangerous for infants and young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 2001-2013, 28% of children younger than 5 years old who had measles had to be treated in the hospital. It is easily spread through droplets in the air from the patient coughing or sneezing. Patients are contagious 4 days before the rash even starts and the virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.

“Measles can be serious and it's more than just a rash and fever.  It can cause serious health complications so it's important to vaccinate,” says Spencer Feldmann, MD, a family medicine physician at Southside Physicians Network (SPN). 

Measles starts with a fever that can get very high. Some of the other symptoms that may occur are:

  • Cough, runny nose, and red eyes
  • Rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infection

For some children, measles can lead to:

  • Pneumonia (a serious lung infection)
  • Lifelong brain damage
  • Deafness
  • Death

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles for yourself and your family.  Some people are unable to get the vaccine due to medical conditions and treatments including those with cancer. When enough people (93% to 95%) are vaccinated against measles, the entire community is less likely to get the disease.

There are 2 vaccines that can prevent measles:

  • The MMR vaccine protects children and adults from measles, mumps, and rubella
  • The MMRV vaccine protects children from measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox

“The most important thing for everyone to know, especially parents, is that getting vaccinated is safe and effective,” says Dr. Feldmann. 

Measles used to be very common in the United States before the measles vaccine was available. Due to high vaccination rates, it was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. It is still common in many parts of the world. Every year, unvaccinated travelers (mostly unvaccinated Americans) bring measles into the U.S. from those countries.

Measles outbreaks have been confirmed in 26 states this year. According to the Virginia Department of Health, the high number of cases in 2019 is primarily the result of a few large outbreaks occurring in Washington state and New York which started in late 2018.

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Farm Service Agency County Committee Nominations Open June 14

#LeadYourFSA and be the Voice of Farmers in Your Community

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2019– USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting nominations for county committee members on Friday, June 14, 2019. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. Individuals may nominate themselves or others as a candidate.

“I encourage America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest stewards to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “There’s an increasing need for diverse representation including underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and minority farmers and ranchers.”

Committees make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Their input is vital on how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serving on FSA county committees. The committees are made of three to 11 members and typically meet once a month. Members serve three-year terms. Producers serving on our FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency.

Producers should visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. Check with your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates.

To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2019 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2019.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4, 2019. Read more to learn about important election dates.

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Herbert “Herb” Wyatt Maxey, Jr.

Memorial Service
Saturday, June 22nd, 11am at First Presbyterian Church, 210 S. Main St in Emporia, VA

Memorial Service for Herbert “Herb” Wyatt Maxey, Jr. will be held on Saturday, June 22nd, 11am at First Presbyterian Church, 210 S. Main St in Emporia, VA.

Herb passed away peacefully at his home on May 27, 2019. He is preceded in death by his parents Barbara Smith Maxey, Herbert W. Maxey, Sr and brother James Robert Maxey. He is survived by a niece Barbara L. Maxey, his devoted pup “Miss April”, cousins, many devoted close friends and loving neighbors. Herb was an accountant and bookkeeper for Maxey Chevrolet, Sadler Auto Center and Boyd Auto Center before retiring in 2015 due to health issues.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to help cover expenses payable and mail to: Lee Seymour, 115 Shore Drive, Emporia, VA 23847.

Thanks to all in advance. Praying and hope to see many of you at the Memorial Service for Herb.

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Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center The Benefits of Volunteering

Emporia, VA – Compassionate, generous, giving; these words reflect what it means to be a volunteer, and in the health care system, volunteers are an invaluable part of the team. Such is the case with Jean Newsome who has dedicated the last 36 years to volunteering. Like others, she helps support the hospital’s mission to provide exceptional patient care. Ms. Newsome is passionate and loves interacting with people. Whether it is performing clerical duties, escorting patients, delivering flowers, or ensuring the comfort of patients by providing a warm blanket, pillow or water, Ms. Newsome makes a difference in the lives around her. Her joy and love for people exemplifies the true meaning of what a volunteer is. Senior Circle Advisor and Volunteer Coordinator Tracy Mitchell at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) shared, “Ms. Newsome has been a volunteer in our Auxiliary department since 1983 and is still going strong! She runs errands for anyone who needs it and delivers the complimentary local newspaper to patients and visitors in the waiting areas. Recently she was in my office looking for pencils for a patient to complete her crossword puzzles. She is a true advocate for our patients and our hospital.”

Being a volunteer can transform a life from the connections volunteers create with people to the joy of giving back to the community. The rewards speak for themselves. Ms. Newsome joyfully shared, “I have truly enjoyed my work over the last 36 years and those with whom I have had the pleasure of working. Helping not only patients but employees is a blessing. We have a good group of people and a good organization.”

To become a volunteer, visit SVRMC.com and click on About: Volunteer Opportunities to download a volunteer application. Contact the volunteer coordinator with any questions at (434) 348-4455.

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Stacy R. Davis, FNP-CJoins VCU Health CMH

South Hill – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Family Nurse Practitioner, Stacy R. Davis, to our family of health care providers.  Nurse Practitioner Davis specializes in Family Care.

Davis earned her MSN Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Chamberlain University in Illinois. She received her nursing diploma from Bon Secours School of Nursing and completed her BS in Nursing from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Stacy is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Nurse Practitioner Davis is joining Jenea Bennett-Talley at Chase City Primary Care Center, located at 200 East Fifth Street in Chase City.  She is accepting new patients; to schedule an appointment call (434) 372-0900.To view a full list of services visit:  VCU-CMH.org

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Truck Driver Training Classes Begin in July

Train now for a great, well-paying job! Southside Virginia Community College is offering Truck Driver Training classes in July at locations in Emporia and South Boston, Virginia.  The Emporia class will begin July 15, 2019.  The South Boston class begins July 22, 2019.  Classes run for six weeks.  SVCC's program is an excellent school turning out qualified drivers that are in high demand.  Pre-registration is required so contact the school at 434-292-3101 or visit our website at www.southside.edu for more information.  There is assistance with tuition so call soon to register for this exciting program to put you on the road to success.

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Beware of people pretending to be from social security

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number or even a local SSA office number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your SSN, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone.

Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

You can also share our new “SSA Phone Scam Alert” video at http://bit.ly/2VKJ8SG

Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage.

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Physical Therapists Can Keep You Moving Forward

Emporia, VA – The majority of Americans who die from opioid overdoses do so after using these medications to treat legitimate pain. Sadly, many of these conditions could be prevented or managed with positive lifestyle changes, and a better understanding of body mechanics learned through physical therapy.

“Rural areas need quality care, especially for rehabilitation.  Our clinic is fully equipped to meet all therapy needs of the people of Emporia and the surrounding areas; we are the only full service clinic in the area,” says Richard M. Alexander, PT, DPT, “We treat everything from heart attacks and strokes to joint replacements, sports medicine, neck and back pain, balance disorders and vertigo.”

Physical therapists are movement specialists. They are licensed professionals with graduate-level degrees, who have advanced clinical knowledge of the human muscular and skeletal systems. Over the past decade, physical therapy has increasingly focused on prevention rather than treatment. Physical therapy techniques can help those with arthritis, sports injuries, environmental or workplace pain, and sleep disturbances, providing a number of benefits.

  • Avoiding Surgery. Meniscal or rotator cuff tears, spinal stenosis and degenerative disk disease often experience significant improvement through physical therapy. Given the cost and recovery time involved with surgical procedures, it’s worth a try.
  • Avoiding Opioids. Chronic joint and nerve pain are the most common reasons people seek over-the-counter and prescription pain medications. Exhausting all possible therapy and body-management tactics for pain reduction should always be a priority before opting for opioids.
  • Managing the Work Environment. A PT can provide you with tools and exercises to prevent pain and loss of mobility, whether you sit for a living, stand in one place, use your hands repetitively, or lift heavy objects all day. Recognizing the risks involved in your daily work life and being proactive about them can save pain, costs, and lost productivity.
  • Preventing Headaches.  Many chronic headache conditions are caused by increased time in front of computers and mobile devices. Pressure on the thoracic and cervical spine can lead to disk degeneration and nerve damage, and result in fierce and frequent headaches. Learning to use and position your body can lead to a significant reduction in pain.

Arthritis is a fact of life for most people, though the extent and nature of its impact on our lives can vary widely. We all know those folks who still look spry and confident at age 82. It’s unlikely that they have no arthritis – the difference is in how they “manage” their bodies. Physical therapists provide benefits for arthritis patients in three different areas:

  1. Prevent and manage chronic pain. A PT will help strengthen the associated muscle groups and teach you to move your body properly, while decreasing impact on the affected joint.
  2. Create and maintain maximum flexibility and mobility. Physical therapy is a holistic practice of medicine, and good therapists factor in your social, emotional and physical factors when creating a treatment plan.
  3. Support good sleep. Much of the physical decline associated with arthritis can be attributed to poor sleep mechanics. A therapist will help with tips and tools for proper sleep health.

Physical therapy benefits those with and without existing physical ailments. When you meet with a physical therapist, give them an accurate picture of your current lifestyle and paint a picture of what you’d like to accomplish. The benefits won’t be realized overnight, but much of what you learn, you can continue yourself at home.

The way we hold, operate and rest our bodies is closely tied to levels of happiness, disease prevention and longevity, and the practice of it is not to be underestimated. If you need assistance locating a qualified physical therapist, ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation or contact SVRMC Rehabilitation Services at 434-348-4871.


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Dr. Dalton Receives Distinguished Alumni Award at Virginia Tech

Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics’ recipient of the Distinguished Alumna in Academia Award.  The award is presented by VT’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during its “Celebration of Ut Prosim,” the college’s alumni organization’s annual recognition program.  Ut Prosim is the university motto meaning “That I May Serve”.

For 17 years at Virginia Tech (VT), Dr. Dixie, as she was known by her students, taught numerous classes, provided leadership to the undergraduate program, and contributed academic and career advising to undergraduate and graduate students in VT’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. In recognition of her teaching and advising contributions, she was selected as VT’s recipient of the outstanding teaching award and the outstanding advising award— both in the same year.  At the national level, she received teaching awards from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Association and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. In addition to teaching and advising, she contributed to Virginia’s agricultural industry through her extension work.  In recognition of those contributions, she received Virginia Farm Bureau’s Service to Agriculture Award and the Virginia Cooperative Council’s Cooperative Education Leadership Award. She continues to make a positive impact in her current position at SVCC.

Dixie has played a major role on the VT College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Organization board of directors. Beginning as a departmental faculty representative in the 1990’s and more recently as a director, she has served as vice president, president, and past president.  During the presentation of her award at the college ceremony, this was said of her contributions: “Always working quietly but effectively and always in the spirit of Ut Prosim, Dixie has provided steady, thoughtful, and consistent leadership throughout her career for the Department, the College, Virginia Tech, and Virginia.” During the ceremony, in addition to receiving the alumna award, she was also recognized by current president, Rachel Kohl, for her two years of service as the alumni organization’s president.

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Virginia Cooperative Extension Continues To Be An Important Resource For The Commonwealth In Severe Weather

Hurricane season runs from Saturday, June 1 through Nov. 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), between nine and 15 named storms, including includes tropical storms, are predicted to form in the Atlantic this year.

Being prepared for severe weather before it arrives can keep you and your family safe and healthy. Knowing where to turn for help and information afterwards can play an important role in mitigating further damage and health risks.

For more than a century, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) has helped Virginians manage the devastations bad weather can cause. The program, managed jointly by Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Tech, provides online resources ranging from food safety issues during power outages to how to protect livestock and crops, as well as Extension agents who cover every corner of the state to offer additional information when needed.

“One of the chief goals of Virginia’s Cooperative Extension program is to empower farmers, ranchers and communities of all sizes to adequately respond to emergencies,” said Dr. M. Ray McKinnie, VSU College of Agriculture dean and 1890s Extension Program administrator. “In partnerships with the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Extension offers valuable research-based information to communities preparing and recovering from disasters, whether the need is flood clean-up or financial stability.”

Last October Hurricane Michael’s strong winds and high water killed six people, knocked out power to thousands across the state, closed hundreds of roads, and flooded many homes. To protect yourself and your family, pets and livestock from the next severe weather event, take time now to review or create an emergency plan. Visitwww.ext.vsu.edu/severe-weather to get started.

To keep on top of other ways Virginia Cooperative Extension can help you, your family or your business, follow them on Facebook (VsuCollegeOfAgriculture) or Twitter (VSU_AG) or subscribe to their weekly eNewsletter or email updates athttps://bit.ly/2UekOW3 (or from the ext.vsu.edu homepage).

In the event of severe weather predictions, always stay tuned to your radio or television. Meteorologists are trained professionals equipped to analyze natural indicators of weather conditions that may be threatening and to advise when to seek safety when necessary.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. VSU is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.


2019 ODEMSA Regional EMS Council Award Winners Announced

The 2019 Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) Regional EMS Council Award winners were announced at the 2019 ODEMSA Regional EMS Council Awards Ceremony at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA. Executive Director Heidi Hooker recognized 12 outstanding EMS providers and organizations from across Virginia Planning Districts 13, 14, 15, and 19, for their exceptional achievements and dedication to the regional EMS system.

The awards were presented in conjunction with the start of the 45th National Emergency Medical Services Week. EMS Week celebrates EMS practitioners and the vital work they do in our nation’s communities. This EMS Week kick-off welcomed EMS providers and their families, in addition to EMS allies from across the ODEMSA Region and the Commonwealth.

“It is so exciting that we are kicking off EMS week for our region,” said Ryan Scarbrough, Regional Projects Coordinator, Old Dominion EMS Alliance. “We have world-class providers within our four planning districts and what a better way to distinguish them than to have them come out to a world-class amusement park and recognize them in front of their peers and family members.”

“We have so many providers and agencies from our region that have helped to shape the face of EMS into what it is today,” said Heidi Hooker, Executive Director, Old Dominion EMS Alliance. “We have providers and agencies that continue to exceed the mark of excellence, and we are here to recognize them for all that they do every single day. Congratulations to all of this year’s regional level award winners and good luck to them as their regional awards move them into the running for this year’s Governor’s EMS Awards that will be held in November, at the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services’ 40th Annual Symposium in Norfolk, VA.”

Award for Excellence in EMS



James H. Gould, RN



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Excellence in EMS was presented to James H. Gould, with VCU Center for Trauma & Critical Care Education.  Jay has had a long and distinguished career in EMS as a provider, administrator, and educator.  He began his career in 1974 at Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad, where he served in nearly all capacities of leadership, and where he is now a life member.  His career in EMS has led him down many paths, including the opportunity in 1994, to develop an EMS course in Russia.  He also received the Governor’s Letter of Recognition in 1989.

A patriarch in EMS, he is a pioneer that forged the future for all providers in Virginia, especially with his service at the Medical College of Virginia.  His longevity and vast experience allow him to serve as a subject matter expert in EMS.  Few can boast the expertise he can and yet he remains humble and eager to pass lessons and knowledge from his experiences to future generations

Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a High School Senior



Kaylee Eckert



The ODEMSA Regional Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a High School Senior was presented to Kaylee A. Eckert of Goochland County Fire-Rescue.  This award was presented along with a scholarship for $1,000 from ODEMSA.

Having a paramedic father allowed Kaylee a door, to peek through, to the world of emergency medical services.  When she turned 16, she willingly walked through that door and into the Goochland County Fire and Rescue Department.  Since joining, only 18 months ago, she has completed an EMT program, and is now precepting to become an “Attendant in Charge.”  She regularly volunteers 120 hours a month, has recently become an NAEMT Bleeding Control Instructor, and is pursuing an AHA CPR Instructor certification.  Kaylee has accomplished all of this while maintaining a high academic standing of 4.23GPA.

At her young age, she is amazingly aware of current issues and challenges within the EMS and Healthcare systems.  Her senior project was on “Access to Healthcare in Rural Areas.”  After learning about the problems, she set out to address what she could by spearheading a plan to teach community CPR and Bleeding Control classes to her fellow students and faculty within Goochland High School. 

Though she has only been an EMT for a short time, her enthusiasm and “can do” attitude has left an impression with her agency leadership, ODEMSA and others from across the region.

Award for Outstanding EMS Administrator



Greg Jones



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding EMS Administrator was presented to Greg Jones with Chesterfield Fire and EMS/MedFlight One.  Greg is a tenured company officer and a paramedic with Chesterfield County Fire and EMS.  He has served in multiple capacities within many organizations but, it is his service and leadership as the Chief Flight Paramedic of MedFlight 1 since 2011, that justifies his receipt of this award. 

In 2015 Greg’s ability to manage and problem solve was instrumental to the successful transition of the MedFlight 1 program from two paramedics to a paramedic/nurse configuration.  His knowledge, skill, and abilities exemplify the meaning of EMS leadership and have earned him the title of a fair and trusted administrator who gets the job done.

Award for Nurse with Outstanding Contribution to EMS



Gail Weatherford, FNP



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Nurse with Outstanding Contribution to EMS was presented to Gail Weatherford, FNP of Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad.  Gail has been an honored and faithful member of Forest View Volunteer Rescue Squad for over 36 years, where she remains an active riding member.  As an EMS provider, she has risen through the ranks, holding positions of EMT, Paramedic, Crew Lieutenant, Junior Squad Advisor, Secretary, Vice-President and Training Officer, the last of which she has held for 25 years.

She is also a respected member of the VCU Health System.  While there she has worked in pediatrics, the emergency room, trauma care, and is currently a Nurse Practitioner in primary care.  Gail had married these two professions to create within her the perfect balance.  Her dedication to medicine is distinct and exemplified by her continued education as both a nurse practitioner and an EMS provider.  She shares her knowledge and experiences through training and preception programs, developed by her.  Her peers will tell you it’s her empathy and compassion for her patients, fellow squad members, co-workers, and the people she is training that makes her stand out.  She conveys her desire for everyone to succeed and pushes others to achieve boundaries they believed impossible.  They say that when you work with her, you learn from her.

Award for Physician with Outstanding Contribution to EMS



Stephanie K. Louka, MD



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Physician with Outstanding Contribution to EMS was presented to Stephanie K. Louka, MD of VCU Health. Stephanie’s career in medicine has its roots in EMS, and she is a Life Member of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad.  While there she earned a variety of awards and accolades as an EMS Provider.  She carried her passion for EMS with her throughout medical school and into her career as a practicing physician that has culminated with her completion of sub-specialty fellowship in Emergency Medical Services at VCU Health.

As a fellow, she has taken on the responsibilities as an EMS educator and advocate, presenting over a dozen original continuing education courses in the last three years. She also serves as the medical director for the nation’s first university-level point of care ultrasonography course explicitly created for prehospital providers.  She serves as Assistant Medical Director for the Richmond Ambulance Authority, where she has embraced the idea of mobile integrated healthcare.  She also serves as Flight Physician with VCU LifeEvac, where she uses her skills to train and mentor our air medical prehospital providers.

As if her work in Virginia wasn’t enough, she has even taken her passion and expertise in EMS outside our country’s borders to Rwanda, where she has helped develop their EMS infrastructure.  We also believe she might be the only OMD in the ODEMSA Region, trained by NASA, in space shuttle emergency landing & astronaut extrication.

Award for Outstanding Prehospital Educator



Rodney C. Newton



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Prehospital Educator was presented to Rodney C. Newton of Victoria Fire & Rescue. Rodney teaches because he loves it, and he motivates students to excellence by displaying it.

As an educator, he connects with his students, and he provides individualized learning opportunities. He makes learning pleasant and productive and brings positive attributes to the classroom.  As a life member of Victoria Fire and Rescue, he has walked the path and has lived the pages of the textbook from which he teaches. Students say he is a wealth of knowledge and that constant words of encouragement have led many, who otherwise would’ve quit, to continue with courses that might seem impossible to complete.  He embraces the opportunity to fill new minds with knowledge, and they love him for it.

Award for Outstanding Prehospital Provider



Jimmy Lee Pair



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Prehospital Provider was presented to Jimmy Lee Pair of Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, Inc. Though Jimmy has only been in EMS for 15 years, he has packed a lot of experiences into that time. His friends will tell you he wears his EMS hat “24/7”. Whether in his role as a Deputy with the Greensville County Sheriff’s Office or as an Advanced EMT with the Greensville Volunteer Rescue Squad, he is continuously monitoring radios and going where he is most needed. 
Described as a jack of all trades, his experience working with a telecommunications company allows him the ability to troubleshoot and repair squad radios when needed, or offer educated advice on upgrades and funding. His experience as a dispatcher allowed him the knowledge to upgrade two dispatch systems and gave him the skill to clarify misconceptions of field providers with them. His job as a deputy allowed him the ability to have crews stage when a call that was dispatched initially as an “unconscious person” was a call for a shooting. Also, his experience as a medic allowed him to use an AED that he kept in his patrol car, to defibrillate and revive a cardiac arrest patient. Jimmy is dedicated to his community and making it safer no matter what role he plays.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety



Metro Richmond Flying Squad (Greg Nieman)



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety was presented to the Metro Richmond Flying Squad located in Richmond, VA.  The health and safety within our fire and EMS occupation is sometimes overlooked, but not by the Metro Richmond Flying Squad (MRFS).  MRFS was established in December 2016, when a group of firefighters from around the area identified a lack of rehabilitation services on scene. They pursued the utilization of a donated vehicle and secured the equipment needed to accomplish their mission.  Five months later they were up and running with 30 volunteers consisting of active and retired firefighters.  What started as a goal of providing rehab services to firefighters, quickly expanded to include EMS, police, and displaced residents.

In January 2019 they were called to assist on the scene of a house fire.  Not only did they help the firefighters and provided warmth and shelter to the two displaced residents, who wore only shorts and flip flops on the snow-covered city streets they also provided a safe and warm place for the resident’s two dogs.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS for Children



Samuel T. Bartel, MD



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS for Children was presented to Samuel T. Bartle, MD of VCU Health. Sam is one of ODEMSA’s most passionate pediatric advocates. He is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the VCU Health System, which is the only certified Pediatric Trauma Center in Virginia. He has over 20 years of practice in the field of pediatric emergency medicine and his areas of clinical interest include Pediatric Injury & Trauma and Pediatric Sedation. 

He is active in governmental and public advocacy of pediatric health, medical and safety issues. As busy as Sam may be, he still finds time to share his knowledge with the EMS community every chance he has. It is not uncommon to see him teaching continuing education classes at a local rescue squad, attending a sub-council meeting, or a committee meeting at the regional council level, or chairing a state committee. Pediatric medicine is his passion and educating and assisting the EMS provider is a close second.

Sam was recognized for his advocacy work on behalf of children at the Virginia General Assembly in 2009 by the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He currently serves as the chapter’s chairperson for its governmental and legislative affairs committee, and as its representative on the governor’s sub-panel on disaster preparedness. Sam also serves as a representative on the Governor’s Emergency Medical Services Council Advisory Board for the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians. He is the current Chairperson for the EMS for Children Committee, a sub-committee of the Governor’s EMS Advisory Board.

He practices pediatric emergency medicine at the VCU Health System and is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Emergency Medicine with a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Pediatrics for VCU Health System. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Sam has spent a lifetime in service to children, with just as much time spent assuring that EMS providers have the tools to do the same.

Award for Outstanding EMS Agency



Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad
(Tristan Cox, Andrew Inge, Tracie Delano)



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding EMS Agency was presented to Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad from Henrico, VA. The Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad is one of the last remaining agencies in the ODEMSA Region and the Commonwealth that doesn’t charge for services and doesn’t employ any paid staff. 

This January they celebrated 61 years of providing care to the citizens of Henrico County.  Their all-volunteer force consists of over 50 members, who last year contributed over 19,000 hours of service.  Within the past year, members of the agency were recognized publicly for several accomplishments including the successful resuscitation of a runner, who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at the Monument Avenue 10k who was able to walk out of the hospital neurologically intact. Members also received by way of the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards recognition for the hours that they volunteered. One of their members was also presented with the Daily Points of Light Award on behalf of President George H.W. Bush before his passing.

Lakeside Vol. Rescue Squad is active in their community. In addition to providing community CPR training, they also patrol their first due area neighborhoods on Halloween night. You can find their members utilizing their UTV to patrol and play Halloween music while passing out candy. This activity by the agency provides an extra set of eyes and ears for the trick-or-treaters.  They’re also active on the regional and state levels, as they are involved with the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads, ODEMSA and various statewide initiatives. They exemplify the commitment and dedication of citizen volunteers in the Commonwealth.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Telecommunications



Christina M. Austin



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Telecommunications was presented to Christina M. Austin of Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA). Christina leads a team of System Status Controllers who provide command, control, and communication for the Richmond Ambulance Authority’s operations.  RAA receives, processes, and dispatches over 66,000 responses each year.

Christina provides close oversight and management of their program assuring exceptional performance.  In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, she serves on a Medical Dispatch Review committee that includes quality assurance and quality improvement for the department.  She is an outstanding professional with an exceptional program that she oversees.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response



K-9 Search & Rescue Dogs, Inc.



The ODEMSA Regional EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response was presented to K-9 Search & Rescue Dogs, Inc. based in Richmond, VA.  The members of the K-9 Search & Rescue Dogs, Inc., go through more training than most expect and are overlooked as an integral part of the emergency response system.

Handlers are required to have wilderness survival training, emergency first aid for both humans and K9’s, crime scene preservation, courtroom procedures, confined space safety, swift water safety, and several NIMS courses.  They must be amateur radio operators, experts in navigation with the use of a map and compass, and at record keeping.  Handlers must be physically fit, and able to walk through uneven wilderness terrain, or over rubble from a fallen building.  They spend countless hours preparing and learning how to train their dogs best.  They’re even amateur meteorologists so they can know how wind and scent patterns move to set their team up for success.

The dogs must pass several physical exams before being allowed to participate in actual searches. They must be obediently trained to the highest degree and are not afraid of anything which includes people yelling, other dogs, sirens, jackhammers, and other sources of distraction.  They must be persistent and not give up, and most importantly, they must like the job and have fun searching.  K-9s are utilized on ATVs/UTVs, in helicopters, planes or boats.  Snow, water, mud, thick brush, briars or darkness cannot slow them down as they must be able to work in all and changing conditions because lives depend on their keen sense of smell, vision, and endurance.

Of the search and rescue teams, K9 teams are elite because they can search large areas much quicker than standard groups.  The work that the K-9 teams do can be done by no other, and the work they do saves lives.

Honorable Mention

The ODEMSA Award Selection Committee will, from time to time, have special requests.  This year they requested that ODEMSA give special recognition to Smithfield Fresh Meats Corporation, North Plant Facility.  The people of the North Plant Facility enhance regional training experiences in the region through their donation of educational materials to EMS providers. These materials allow providers the ability to practice life-saving skills such as tracheotomies in the classroom.

Countless lives are saved because of this invaluable training tool.  ODEMSA offered special thanks to those in attendance from Smithfield and presented them with a framed certificate of appreciation for the many contributions made that have allowed for the advancement of emergency medical services training.

Nike Sneakers

Spring Fling – A Night to Remember

On May 23, Robinson-Withers Gym at Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services was transformed into an elegant ballroom for the evening’s “Spring Fling” prom.  JFBHS would like to recognize and thank everyone who worked so hard to ensure the event would be a success.

Students in JFBHS’ art program prepared and hung decorations throughout the gym. JFBHS food service staff prepared special foods and sweets for the event.  Wooten Brothers Greenhouse loaned beautiful table decorations. Staff member and professional photographer Leon Robinson snapped photos throughout the evening while staff member and professional DJ Craig Mangrum provided the music that kept the boys and girls dancing all night.  Students at the Collegiate School in Richmond provided prom dresses, shoes, and accessories through The Fairy Godmother program.  Several Rotary clubs in the region donated blazers for the boys.  A friend of JFBHS provided hair styling and manicures.

Prom is a rite of passage for most American teenagers, and JFBHS is committed to providing this special event that residents will cherish for a lifetime.

Saldos - Entrega gratuita

SVCC Awarded Scholorship

First Citizens Scholarship Awarded to SVCC:  Cindy Thomas, Sr. Vice President (2nd from right) of First Citizens Bank, presents a check to SVCC President, Dr. Al Roberts to support the established First Citizens Bank Nursing Scholarship. Also pictured are Nancy Edwards, Business Banker (left), and Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences (right).

Max 90 Winter Sneakerboot


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