Keith Edmonds, AEMTA President

Summer has arrived!!  It seems that Arkansas now only faces two seasons, winter and summer and nowhere can we locate spring and fall.  With the beginning of our summer months comes that time that we all are anxiously awaiting, CONFERENCE 2011!!

I am excited about the offerings that will be available this year at our annual South Central Regional EMS Conference held at the Hot Springs Convention Center on August 3 thru 7.  Many new lectures and lecturers will be waiting your arrival this year in order to better achieve the goals of the AEMTA, which is to provide you, the member with the educational opportunities that you have asked for in previous years.  I understand that there will actually be a leadership tract this year at conference to assist and provide information to the leaders of Arkansas EMS while building strength in those we look to for guidance.

I certainly hope to see you there and shake your hand or hug your neck.  I honestly appreciate each and every member for your support over the past year and a half while I have enjoyed seeing and meeting new faces along the way.

We, the members of the AEMTA, will be tasked in the next month to elect our new Board of Directors for the years of 2012 and 2013.  I personally know each and every person running for office this year and can assure everyone that regardless of the outcome of the elections, we will remain a strong Association and we will continue the move forward in EMS across Arkansas.

This is an important decision that you as a member will be involved in.  It is so important that you fill out the election ballot when you receive it and mail it back to the designated address on the envelope.  These candidates on the ballots will be representing you as a member of the Association and your voice is why these people are running for their positions.  They want to be there for all the members and desire to do the right thing for the membership in general.  So, take a few minutes of time when the ballot arrives from the AEMTA and select the appropriate candidate that will best provide you with the direction you want your Association to go.

Speaking from experience, these candidates are nervously waiting on the final outcome of the election to see what lies ahead for them for the next two years in EMS.  They want to meet and greet as many faces as possible to let you know what they can do for you, the membership of the Association and give you some ideas about the direction they want to go with our membership.

There are several things that will be approaching our newly elected Board of Directors over the next two years such as: new certifications, trauma education, retirement and health insurance, plus the changes that we are seeing with the newly formed Arkansas Trauma System.  Not only the things I have mentioned, they will also have their own agenda on items that need to be moved forward with in order to build a strong EMS system that our patients so deserve and that we strive to improve on daily.

In closing, I know that you work side by side with a partner, whether they be an EMT, Advanced EMT or a Paramedic that has made a difference in some one’s life or maybe a difference in your life.  It is a great honor to nominate some one for one of our awards as well as a humbling experience to receive one.  Not only the above mentioned positions but we also award the Instructor of the Year, First Responder of the Year, First Responder Service of the Year, Fire/EMS Service of the Year, Industrial EMT of the Year, Dr. Judy Abbott Medical Director of the Year and the Arkansas Ambulance Association awards the BLS, ALS and Volunteer Services of the Year at the annual banquet at conference each year.  We have also had an addition to the awards beginning last year in remembrance of one of our icons in EMS, David A. Taylor, Sr. with the Excellence in EMS award chosen by the Taylor family in conjunction with the President of the AEMTA.  Please, nominate some one that you work with daily and assist in bringing the recognition to those who deserve it by making a difference in EMS.

As always, I respect and appreciate the hard work and dedication that each of you show on a daily basis in making a difference in those we care for.  Whether you are new to our Profession or one of those that have been around the block a time or two, I thank you for all that you have done.  Be safe in your travels, endeavors and calls and I look forward to seeing you at the 2011 South Central Regional EMS Conference in August!