HOLLISTER, Mo. – The Missouri Emergency Medical Services Association (MEMSA) annually recognizes local emergency medical systems for outstanding work.
An awards ceremony at the Taney County Ambulance District (TCAD) honored three first responders in different fields Thursday.
Tosha Burns was awarded communications specialist of the year for her outstanding work in dispatch. Burns said it was an honor that she never expected.
“I’m used to being on the other side of the phone and nobody knows who I am, so being front and center is a little different,” Burns said. “But thankfully I work with some pretty great people and I get the closer that most people don’t. So whether I get to finish talking to the people or not, I still get to talk to the medics and know that everything is okay. So it’s nice.”
Becca Murphy was awarded paramedic of the year for her determination and leadership throughout the pandemic.
Murphy was also recognized for her outstanding work as a field trainer for new emergency medical technicians.
The final award went to Deputy Chief Jeff Hawkins, who has served in the community for the last thirty years.
He was awarded administrator of the year. Deputy Chief Hawkins plans on retiring after all of his years with TCAD, and he said a lot has changed in his tenure.
When he first started, many calls were taken from his own house.
“We took down the information. We were our own dispatchers,” said Deputy Chief Hawkins. “We would drive to the station, pick up the ambulance, respond on the calls and transport them to the hospital. Once we were done, we would go back home and go back to bed hopefully. Some nights you didn’t get to, but there were a lot of times we did. We just weren’t that busy back then, but as the boom of the 90’s happened in Branson, that all changed for us. Then we shortly thereafter went full-time, in-house 24 hours a day just because the call volume was too much to be responding at home.”