Montera: Celebrate EMS Week 2020 |

Montera: Celebrate EMS Week 2020

Christopher Montera
Valley Voices

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a spring here in Eagle County, but with the entire community banding together to curtail the spread of COVID-19, we’re emerging from this pandemic. This week, in particular, I’d like to commend and celebrate our team at Eagle County Paramedic Services for their dedication, service and sacrifice.

May 17-23 is the 46th annual National EMS Week. In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities.

EMS Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “frontline.” EMS Week is the perfect time to recognize the more than 90 EMS practitioners at Eagle County Paramedic Services and their contributions in safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of our community.

Paramedics and EMTs are at the intersection of health care, public safety and public health and we are here to respond to emergencies and provide skilled, compassionate care for our community. We’re more than ambulance drivers: We have some of the most highly trained and skilled paramedics in the country providing exceptional care to you — our community.

Did you know that we have 21 certified flight paramedics on staff? This is incredible, especially in a community that doesn’t have helicopter service. If you need a flight for life, we have highly trained paramedics to ensure your health as you’re transported via ground at the same capability you will find in most helicopter programs. Additionally, ECPS has two certified tactical paramedics (to provide care in hostile and austere environments with law enforcement partners) and eight certified community paramedics.

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I want to take a moment to highlight the work of our community paramedics. We were one of the first communities to launch this program more than 11 years ago and now have a full complement of CPs. Designed to provide health services where access to physicians, clinics and/or hospitals is difficult or may not exist, our CPs have been working full-out during this pandemic. Chronic conditions don’t disappear during a crisis and our paramedics have been providing outstanding care to long-term patients as well as administering at-home COVID tests and supporting patients in a myriad of different ways. Kudos to this often under-recognized team.

We’ve also recently expanded our services. In March, ECPS welcomed Gladys Villa and Coco Andrade to the team as community behavioral health navigators. The new positions, created in part from a grant from Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and the Katz Amsterdam Foundation, is an outreach of Vail Health and focuses on assisting high-risk, high-acuity mental health consumers in Eagle County. As bilingual, multicultural women, Andrade and Villa operate with a client‐centered approach, advocating, empowering and educating clients. 

I could go on and on about the amazing people that I work with, not just during EMS Week but every single day. Ours is a unique job, one in which we interact with our community in times of pain, crisis and fear. However, we’re proud that Eagle County Paramedic Services truly delivers skilled, professional and compassionate health care to our community at a level that is equal to–if not greater than–that in larger metropolitan areas.

I encourage you to reach out to your paramedics and say thank you to this much deserving team. You can contact us on our website, on Facebook or email to send them these thank you notes.

Christopher Montera is the CEO of Eagle County Paramedic Services. For more information about what your local paramedics do, visit

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