KAMSACK - On September 15, a Kamsack woman was honoured by the Paramedic Services Chiefs of Saskatchewan with the 2021 Star of Life Award. The title represents one of the highest achievements in the paramedic profession and is awarded to just one person from a number of nominees from across the province each year.
Makenzie Mydonick-Chernoff, 25, lives in Kamsack and currently works as a Primary Care Paramedic at Canora & Preeceville Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
At a ceremony held the Government House in Regina, the Star of Life Medal was presented to Mydonick-Chernoff by Saskatchewan Governor General, Russell Mirasty. On the same day, the young Kamsack woman was in the company of a select few other Saskatchewan award recipients receiving 20-year and 30-year service medals.
“I never thought I’d achieve something like this in a million years. I had no idea I was even in the consideration of this award, let alone be chosen out of all the other nominees. To the person who took the time to nominate me, thank-you. I don’t know who you are but I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was an honour to be recognized to this extent. Today is a day I will never forget.”
During the ceremony, Mydonick-Chernoff was introduced with the following words:
“Makenzie Mydonick-Chernoff is a primary care paramedic with Duck Mountain Ambulance in Kamsack. She may be the quiet/silent type, but when it comes to commitment to her job, she is second to none. One example of this is her valiant efforts when she and an RCMP officer arrived at the scene of a drowning. They acted quickly to save a woman who was already submerged, trying desperately to save her friend. Ms. Mydonick-Chernoff’s quick actions saved the woman’s life.”
Mydonick-Chernoff recalled the incident that happened at the water near Riverside Golf Course on April 23, 2019.
“It was one of the hardest calls I’ve ever been on. I mentally struggle with it to this day. I always thought about the patient I lost. I beat myself up and put myself down over the loss - until now. Being recognized for the save that I (and the brave RCMP officer) made, has changed the way I will perceive outcomes on duty from now on. It opened my eyes to a whole new perspective.”
When The Kamsack Times asked the honoured paramedic what inspired her to choose emergency services as a career, she responded:
“I am on the fire department in Kamsack because I had a house fire when I was in high school and lost everything. I was working a call for a car accident and was blown away by how well the paramedics performed on the call and I wanted to be able to do the same thing. When I got home that night I applied for the primary care paramedic course in Melville and here we are! I’ve been a paramedic for almost four years now.”
On a Facebook post, Mydonick-Chernoff thanked her family, instructors and coworkers with the following statement:
“I want to thank everyone who has helped guide my path to this achievement. Especially my absolutely amazing and supportive parents and family who raised me to be the compassionate and strong person I am. You guys built the foundation.
“To the three paramedic instructors in Melville and the three paramedic preceptors in Regina - you six have moulded me into the paramedic I am today. It wasn’t easy and without you six, this wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you all – so, so much. You guys know who you are and I really hope this message finds you all. Also to the coworkers I’ve had, whether we’ve worked two calls together or 200. You all have had a part in my journey and I want to thank you all for being there and thank you all for your service as well!
“To the tremendously brave RCMP officer that ran through the bushes with me that day to find the scene and stuck by my side through this call, thank you! You deserve this award as much as I do. If I didn’t have you on this call with me I believe it would’ve gone differently. I really can’t express my gratitude enough. It’s insane to me that in only three-and-a-half years into this I was able to touch so many people’s lives. That to me is the biggest award overall.”