Paramedic Ashli Gavel and Anderson County EMS Honored with KEMSA Community Service Award

GARNETT, KS – Anderson County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), a department of Anderson County Hospital, has been honored with the Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association (KEMSA) 2023 Community Service Award. Ashli Gavel, a paramedic with the department, was also recognized for her individual contribution.

The Community Service Award is given to an individual and/or team who has been involved in the development of innovative approaches to injury/illness prevention or EMS awareness within the community.

This year’s nomination focused on Anderson County EMS’s efforts to educate students on the consequences of impaired/distracted driving, specifically the staged demonstration for Crest High School students (Colony, Kansas) held in April as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Gavel orchestrated the scene, which was based on a real-life fatality crash she had worked that involved four teenagers. She enlisted help from Colony Fire and Rescue, the Colony City Marshal, and the Anderson County Coroner, in addition to Anderson County EMS. Crest High School students portrayed the four teenagers involved in the crash.

The mock event demonstrated the real consequences of making poor decisions, such as drinking or texting and driving, and the impacts on everyone involved, including emergency response personnel, teens involved in the crash, and the families of those who survived and who didn’t.

Ashli joined Anderson County EMS in 2022 and jumped right into serving her community. The mock accident was the fifth that Ashli has organized during her career, demonstrating her passion for educating youth in the community and keeping them safe.

Awards were presented on Aug. 12 during the annual ‘Honoring Our Own’ banquet, held as part of the 2023 KEMSA Conference & Expo at the Kansas Star Event Center in Mulvane, Kansas. 

Troy Armstrong, Anderson County EMS Director, accepted the award on behalf of Gavel and the department. 
“This is such a huge honor for Anderson County EMS and specifically for Ashli,” shared Armstrong. “We want to raise awareness and build a culture of resilience within our communities, and Ashli was able to do this by connecting with our youth.”

Armstrong was honored as the KEMSA 2022 Administrator of the Year, making this the second consecutive year that Anderson County EMS has received state-level recognition. Other 2023 nominations included Anderson County EMS for Career Service of the Year, and Sherry Schmitz, EMS Lead, for EMS Educator of the Year.

Anderson County Hospital is a member of Saint Luke’s Health System, which consists of 14 area hospitals and several primary and specialty care practices, and provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, and home care services. Founded as a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, our mission includes a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in health care and the advancement of medical research and education. The health system is an aligned organization in which the physicians and hospitals assume responsibility for enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of people in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the surrounding region.