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EMS initial responder earns top honours from Governor General

Governor General medal awarded to Wilkie resident, Jackie Gerein.
Jackie Gerein, third from the right, was recognized for her contributions to the field of emergency medical services on May 23.

WILKIE – Jackie Gerein of Wilkie was recently recognized for her years of exemplary service in the field of emergency medical services (EMS). On May 23, Gerein was one of the 13 Saskatchewan Health Authority EMS personnel to receive Governor General medals.

Gerein began with Wilkie Ambulance in 1999, with a gentle nudge from Theresa Skinner while on the golf course.

“If it was not for Theresa, I may not have followed this career path. I always had a fascination for the profession and the need to help out in the community, so when able, I jumped at the opportunity to take training to first be an Emergency Medical Responder,” said Gerein. Since then, she has completed training for Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Technician-Advanced and finally an Intermediate Care Paramedic.

Through the years, Gerein had to navigate life while working. She said it was not always easy for her family, seeing their mom / spouse leave at the call of the radio not knowing when they will be back home.

Yet, there were some rewarding moments for Gerein.

“Showing up when people call because they need help and seeing the difference I make in the care they received prior to getting to the hospital. Seeing my patients back out in the community or talking to them to find out they are doing well is very rewarding,” she said.

Gerein was nominated for the award by Denis Blain, EMS manager, and Krista Remeshylo, EMS Director. According to the Paramedics Services Chiefs of Saskatchewan, eligible recipients (a) Must have been employed with emergency medical services on or after Oct. 31, 1991; and (b) have completed at least 20 years of exemplary service, including at least 10 years in the performance of duties involving potential risk, as determined by the Advisory Committee; and (c) has a record of exemplary service of such a high standard as to merit award of the medal.

“I was shocked and honoured as I was not expecting it. My family was very excited that I received the award. I have always had support from my co-workers and family to be where I am today. I am truly grateful for all the love and support I received,” said Gerein.

With close to 25 years of experience, Gerein is always encouraging those who are wanting to join EMS to talk to local ambulance coordinators.

“The most important quality you need to do the job is to be empathetic to your patients and have their best interests, the other skills will be learned.”