Three Sunstar Paramedics employees have been recognized by Pinellas County for outstanding service to the community. Christopher Collins was named Paramedic of the Year, Eric Fayad was honored as Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) of the Year and Nicholas Eberhardt was named Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) of the Year.
“Chris, Eric and Nick are stellar examples of the quality patient care and service to the community,” said Mark Postma, chief operating officer of Sunstar Paramedics. “We’re pleased that the Commissioners have selected to honor them.”
Paramedic of the Year Chris Collins is passionate about patient care and advocacy. Last year, Collins responded to a call for about a sick teenager. On the surface, the patient seemed to be intoxicated, but the teen’s girlfriend made a strong case for another illness. Collins reviewed the teen’s symptoms and realized that he could have a brain bleed, which can quickly lead to permanent disability or death if left untreated. Collins stabilized the teen while transporting him to the closest neurology center. Collins informed the hospital staff about his findings and strongly advocated for a CT scan, which showed a massive brain bleed. The teen was taken into surgery, and made a complete recovery after being discharged from the facility. Collins has worked with Sunstar Paramedics since 2014.
EMD of the Year Eric Fayad is dedicated to the training and education of 9-1-1 dispatchers. He works as a dispatcher and lead training officer in Sunstar Paramedics’ Communications Center, and as a full time Lieutenant with the Seminole Fire Department. In addition, he teaches classes on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), emergency medical dispatcher (EMD), emergency fire dispatcher (EFD) and hazardous materials (Hazmat) for Sunstar Paramedics, and classes in EMD and EFD for professionals throughout the United States for Priority Dispatch Corporation. Fayad is a regular presenter at the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch’s (IAED) annual conference and his best practices have been highlighted in The Journal of Emergency Dispatch several times. He has worked with Sunstar Paramedics since 2000.
EMT of the Year Nicholas Eberhardt is committed to leading and mentoring new employees. He has helped new EMTs successfully integrate into a busy system by becoming a preceptor for Sunstar Paramedics and a member of its Critical Care Transport team, as well as a preceptor for St. Petersburg College. In 2015, he was part of a core team from Sunstar Paramedics who went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to assist in starting Paramedics Plus’ newest operation. In Sioux Falls, Eberhardt was instrumental in leading, training and mentoring new employees and preparing them to serve the community as Paramedics Plus. He has worked with Sunstar Paramedics since 2011.
The awards were presented to each honoree at the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners meeting on May 10, 2016.