Hermiz named EMS Educator of the Year
Keith Hermiz

Hermiz named EMS Educator of the Year

GRAFTON — Keith Hermiz, an advanced emergency medical technician who serves as president and training officer of the Grafton Rescue Squad, has been named by the Vermont Department of Health as its 2021 Emergency Medical Services Educator of the Year.

In announcing the award, Will Moran, emergency medical services chief at Vermont Department of Health, credited Hermiz for his determination not to let EMS education be a victim of the pandemic, which caused most classes and training programs to be suspended.

After working to acquire much-needed and difficult-to-obtain personal protective equipment for Grafton Rescue, Hermiz then organized ongoing in-house training using distance learning and Zoom sessions so Grafton First Responders could stay current with the field.

“At this point, Keith recognized the disrupted state of regularly available classes and took it upon himself to prepare and offer an [emergency medical responder] course meeting all safety protocols in Grafton that ultimately served 15 students from Grafton, Chester, and Westminster,” Grafton Emergency Medical Responder Mike Field said in a news release.

This course was doubly important during the past year not only due to most training being curtailed but also because of the ever-present need for EMS personnel.

Hermiz was recognized previously as the EMS Educator of the Year in 2019 for his constant efforts to train first responders and his effectiveness at planning and teaching numerous aspects of EMS and rescue services.

He has been the lead instructor in the advanced CPR training technique known as the Resuscitation Academy, which he has taught to more than 15 police, fire, and EMS departments in Central and Southern Vermont.

All training and use of this technique ceased due to the COVID-19 protocols, which limited the number of responders doing CPR. Once the pandemic started to ease up, Hermiz pushed to resume teaching the Resuscitation Academy CPR technique, for which approval was granted and the first session recently completed.

“Well-known in Vermont for his involvement with EMS, receiving this award a second time would not have been a surprise to his colleagues in the EMS community, although it was to Hermiz,” members of his squad wrote in the news release.

The recognition of EMS personnel in Vermont was also affected by the pandemic, with most of the usual open houses, dinners, and other in-person gatherings cancelled.

However, the Vermont Department of Health did go ahead with its annual awards last month recognizing various individuals and organizations in EMS for their achievements.

Hermiz reportedly responded to the news with characteristic modesty by replying, “There must be some mistake.”

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