As a paramedic for the past 27 years, Lindsay Prioriello has made a career of helping people in their time of need, but she has never expected gratitude in return.
On September 28, she got it – in spades.
At he Ontario Association of Paramedics Conference in Ottawa, Prioriello was applauded among the best of the best when she was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. She was among five paramedics from Niagara who were recognized with an Emergency Services Exemplary Service medal at the conference, in addition to Mary Homorodean, Jeff Marshall, Jon Brunarski, and Daniel Kress.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive such recognition,” said Prioriello, a NC faculty member who also works for Niagara EMS. “I have never expected any thanks or gratitude for doing my job, but it did feel amazing to stand among 107 fellow medics and peers from all across Ontario and be honoured.”
Prioriello graduated from NC’s Ambulance and Emergency Care program in 1991 and has been working as a paramedic since then, landing a job in the Niagara region in 1992. She became an advanced care paramedic in 1999, shortly before she began teaching part-time for NC’s paramedic program in 2000. She has been full-time faculty at NC since 2013.
Even after 27 years, Prioriello said she still loves everything about her job and still feels an adrenaline rush when responding to calls.
“Every day is different and every call is different; you never know what to expect when you show up for work,” she said. “We can be responding to a car accident one minute and delivering a baby the next.”
Prioriello values being able to help people who put their trust in paramedics when they are at their most vulnerable.
“It’s even better when I get to work alongside one of my students,” she said, noting how college faculty in the program are also working paramedics with Niagara EMS which hires many NC grads. “Every year when they graduate and gain employment, I am so proud of them and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Carolyn Triemstra, dean of Community and Health Studies, said she is proud to have Prioriello as a full-time faculty member within the Paramedic program.
“We are fortunate that Lindsay shares her exemplary knowledge, expertise and dedication with the students in the classroom every day,” said Triemstra. “As an active advanced care paramedic with Niagara EMS, Lindsay continues to provide top quality service to the residents of Niagara, while preparing the medics of tomorrow.”
Cheryl Taylor, NC’s Paramedic program coordinator, also applauded Prioriello’s achievement and said she feels fortunate to have her by her side as faculty.
“The Emergency Service award is a reflection of Lindsay selfless commitment to balancing her continued work within the community as an advanced care paramedic, to her family as a mother and wife, and to the Niagara College Paramedic program were she demonstrates an energy of service excellence each and every day in the classroom,” said Taylor. “To be recognized in this way is a huge accomplishment for any paramedic. I could not be prouder and she is incredibly deserving of the honour of this award.”
The Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal was created in 1994 by the late Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, as a component of the Canadian Honours System. This award is presented to paramedics who have served for the last twenty years in meritorious manner, characterized by the highest standards of good conduct, industry and efficiency. To qualify, at least ten of these years of service must have been on street level (or air) duty involving potential risk to the individual. Since the inception of this prestigious award, there have been approximately 1,900 Ontario medal recipients.
“I am incredibly proud of the amazing and dedicated staff that received the prestigious Emergency Services Exemplary Service Medal,” said Niagara EMS chief Kevin Smith. “It was my honour to witness Niagara EMS Paramedics walk across the stage and be commended on 20 years of meritorious service in the profession and their contributions to their communities.”
Regional chair Alan Caslin thanked the award winning paramedics for making more than 20 years of contributions to community safety throughout the entire region. “These paramedics have outstanding records of service and leadership, and their efforts have had a resounding impact throughout Niagara,” said Caslin. “This recognition at the provincial level as recipients of the Emergency Services Exemplary Medal for Meritorious Service is to be commended.”