NASHVILLE, Tenn.—When Hurricane Irma threatened the Florida coast in September 2017 first responders from across the nation answered the call to help. Being the Volunteer State, it was only fitting for Tennesseans to be among them. Three members of Williamson Medical Center’s EMS Department were part of the relief efforts: Clyde Prater, EMS Supervisor/CCPM, James Bourland, EMS Supervisor/CCPM, and Robert Skinner, Paramedic.
Today, the Tennessee Department of Health-Division of EMS honored Prater, Bourland, Skinner, and the 75 other responders that gave up their time to help Florida stay on its feet. It happened during the EMS board’s regular meeting in Nashville.
James Bourland, Robert Skinner, and Clyde Prater stand up front, after receiving their awards.
One-by-one, the local crews were called up to for handshakes, kudos, and certificates of recognition. Each responder received two achievement awards: one specifically from the Division of EMS, and another from the Tennessee Department of Health, signed by Commissioner John Dreyzehner, M.D.
Reading a statement from Dreyzehner during the ceremony, EMS Director Donna Tidwell said to the responders, “(The certificates recognize) your outstanding achievements to the residents of Florida, affected by Hurricane Irma. Your efforts reflect a great credit to you, and the emergency medical services of Tennessee, and our Volunteer State of Tennessee.”
Achievement certificate awarded to Williamson Medical Center, by the Tennessee Department of Health-Division of EMS.
Prater, Bourland, and Skinner were joined up front by responders from Nashville, as well as Montgomery, Sumner and Wilson Counties. Prater proudly served as the Team Lead for this regional group during their efforts in Florida.
Some video highlights of the ceremony.
Also unveiled during the ceremony was a shadowbox, commemorating the deployment. Inside the box were patches from Florida EMS crews, sent as tokens of appreciation from the agencies helped, as well as a map of Florida, charting the paths of the Tennessee crews’ deployments. Tidwell was quick to point out the interesting shape of the paths.
“Where they deployed, they actually made a ‘T’ in the middle of Florida. So, Tennessee did leave its effect on the state,” Tidwell joked.
The shadowbox, as held by state EMS Director, Donna Tidwell. Notice the orange ‘T’ in the center of Florida, the path that local crews took during their deployments.
Back in September, WMC’s team spent several days in southern part of the state, assisting with evacuations and other emergency calls from flooded areas. They had planned to spend up to two weeks there, but were able to complete their missions quickly.
— FL Health Escambia (@HealthyEscambia) September 9, 2017
Florida Health – Escambia County (@HealthyEscambia) tagged Williamson Medical Center in this tweet from September. It set off a touching conversation between the agency, WMC, and the Tennessee Department of Health.
The efforts of Prater, Bourland, and Skinner were not only well-received by those in Florida, but by thousands of Middle Tennesseans, as well. Many shared social media updates from the team and watched along as they gave interviews for stories on Fox 17 News.
One of the many social media posts that kept Williamson County informed of the WMC crew’s journey.
While we are always proud of our EMS, and have been thanking them constantly since they returned home, today’s recognition by the State of Tennessee was a humbling honor for all involved.
(L-R) Robert Skinner, James Bourland, Clyde Prater, Donna Tidwell.Share this Article