‘Undoubtedly in good hands’: Trumbull EMS earns state honors

TRUMBULL — Just weeks after the town’s police department earned a coveted distinction from the state’s Police Officers Standards and Training Council, the EMS squad has received accolades of its own.

The Trumbull squad has been named the EMS Agency of the Year by the Connecticut EMS Advisory Board’s Council of Presidents.

The award is given annually to an EMS organization that has enhanced the understanding and support of EMS through public service, community education and contribution to the municipality, region and state.

“We’re thrilled and delighted at this honor,” EMS Chief Leigh Goodman said. “This award is a reflection of our professional care and commitment to serving our community. The Trumbull EMS team has worked together to ensure we continue to deliver high-quality care to our community in the emergency setting, and as part of our community outreach programs.”

First Selectman Vicki Tesoro praised the leadership of Goodman, who has only been on the job since 2019.

“She is such a dynamic leader, it doesn’t surprise me at all the Trumbull EMS was singled out for such a great distinction,” Tesoro said.

EMS Council of Regional Presidents Chairman William Fitzmaurice noted that Trumbull has a distinguished history, winning the annual award in 2014 and 2016.

“There has been a long history of great leadership and strong commitment to EMS in your community,” he wrote in a congratulatory letter. “Your dedication and commitment to providing outstanding emergency medical services is second-to-none. The citizens of Trumbull are undoubtedly in good hands.”

The Connecticut EMS Council includes five regional organizations, each with as many as 50 member agencies. Trumbull is in the Southwest Region, which also includes municipal services from towns like Greenwich, Stratford, Monroe and Wilton, professional EMS providers Access Ambulance, American Medical Response and Nelson Ambulance Service, Norwalk Hospital EMS and the Sikorsky Aircraft Fire Department EMS.

Tesoro said the distinction carried extra meaning this year, because EMS crews were carrying out their duties amid a pandemic, caring for patients while also taking precautions to prevent the spread of a potentially deadly infectious virus.

“They definitely go above and beyond,” she said.

In addition to the Agency of the Year Award, Trumbull EMS volunteer Meg Zeitler received the 2020 EMS Vocation Award, which recognizes an individual who has chosen a career in emergency medical services.

“Your professional work ethic and dedication to your service and your community epitomizes what an EMT should strive to be,” Fitzmaurice wrote. “You have proven to be an invaluable member of the EMS team, always looking out for the safety and well-being of your coworkers.”

Zeitler started her EMS career at age 50 as a “pay-it-forward” effort.

“My brother had a massive heart attack, and when I saw what those EMTs did, and how they were able to have him walk out of the hospital, I thought ‘I have to pay it forward,’” Zeitler said. “I signed up for the classes at Fairfield U., and when we did the ride-along observations, I was assigned to Trumbull EMS, and I knew that was where I wanted to be.”

After volunteering for two years, Zeitler decided to make a career change to full-time EMT work. Now, five years later, she is back at Trumbull EMS volunteering as an EMT when she isn’t working as one.

“What can I say, it’s addictive,” Zeitler said. “It’s kind of a sappy story how I got into EMS, but I’ve never looked back, and never regretted it for a moment.”