Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon Highlights Value of Emergency Medical Service Workers During National EMS Week

On the 46th anniversary of National EMS Week, members of the Morris County Office of Emergency Management Special Operations Group (SOG) responded on the afternoon of May 18th to a crisis call that, fortunately, ended peacefully.

SOG’s Emergency Medical Services members were deployed to the incident with members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT). SOG members are responsible for the on-scene tactical medical support for SERT members and are integrated into all SERT operations.

Members of the Morris County Office of Emergency Management Special Operations Group (SOG), from left: Morris Township Police Officer James VanValen, Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Sgt. Christina Kovacs, OEM Director Jeffrey Paul, Saint Clare's Hospital Paramedic Joseph Householder, Sheriff's Office Investigator Balkis Bernard, and Saint Clare's Hospital Paramedic Ryan Stickle.
Members of the Morris County Office of Emergency Management Special Operations Group (SOG), from left: Morris Township Police Officer James VanValen, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Christina Kovacs, OEM Director Jeffrey Paul, Saint Clare’s Hospital Paramedic Joseph Householder, Sheriff’s Office Investigator Balkis Bernard, and Saint Clare’s Hospital Paramedic Ryan Stickle.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Bureau of Law Enforcement Undersheriff Mark Spitzer also responded to the call that involved a distraught individual.

The value of the SOG Emergency Medical Services professionals to SERT and the overall importance of EMS workers to communities during the national COVID-19 pandemic cannot be overstated, Sheriff Gannon said.

“I want to pay a special tribute to the phenomenal members of the Morris County OEM Special Operations Group for their medical skills and calm under pressure,” Sheriff Gannon said.

SOG members who responded to Monday’s call are Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeant Christina Kovacs, Sheriff’s Office Investigator Balkis Bernard, Morris Township Police Officer James VanValen, OEM Director and SOG Commander Jeffrey S. Paul, and Saint Clare’s Hospital Paramedics and SOG Members Joseph Householder and Ryan Stickle.

“The county of Morris and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office are fortunate to have a highly-trained group of medical professionals as part of the team. I have had the opportunity to see, first-hand, the lifesaving efforts managed by SOG members. The training is top-notch and overall commitment of its members is unwavering,” Sheriff Gannon said.

In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate the hard work of EMS practitioners, their value to communities and the critical link they provide to emergency medical care.

National EMS Week is celebrated this year from May 17 through May 23.