IDPH Marks EMS Week with Awards, Honors

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the first National EMS Week
Veteran's Memorial Park


IDPH Marks EMS Week with Awards, Honors (Springfield, IL) — This week (May 19-25, 2024) is National EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Week, and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is marking the occasion with its annual awards acknowledging meritorious service in providing emergency medical assistance.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the first National EMS Week, created in 1974. Then-President Gerald Ford authorized the creation of Emergency Medical Services Week to recognize the professionals who work in the field and provide essential life-saving care to people in medical emergencies.

“EMS professionals have one of the most challenges and difficult jobs in health care,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “I am thrilled to celebrate these hard working and dedicated professionals not just during this EMS week but every week. We thank you for all your service and the daily impact you make in improving the health and safety of Illinois residents.”

Each year, IDPH recognizes exemplary service in the field of EMS in Illinois. This year there are three honorees:

  • Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago was honored for swift action that averted catastrophe at an apartment building. On January 19, 2024, the Lurie ER staff treated two separate pediatric patients with similar symptoms, including vomiting and headache. Staff noted that both children shared the same address, an apartment building, and that the symptoms were consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning. 911 was contacted and multiple EMS units responded to the address, discovering high CO levels in the building. 26 units were evacuated and multiple patients were transported to the hospital. No fatalities resulted from the incident, and the quick work of the professionals involved undoubtedly saved lives.
  • Billy Stoffel, an emergency medical technician (EMT) with Southwestern Illinois EMS System, based in Belleville, was honored for 50 years of service. Stoffel was first licensed in 1974 – coincidentally the first year of National EMS Week. He initially worked for an ambulance company operated by a funeral home, as was common in that era. As regulations changed, he transitioned into the EMS system as we know it today. He has worked continuously ever since, including the past 43 years at MedStar Ambulance.
  • Michael Markovich, who has also worked as an EMT with Southwestern Illinois EMS System for 50 years. Like Stoffel, he began with an ambulance company operated by a funeral home. He worked for several ambulance companies in Southwest Illinois, and is now also an EMT for MedStar Ambulance, where he has worked for 21 years.

IDPH Marks EMS Week with Awards, Honors


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