By Jason Cohen
A Morristown resident has been named EMT of the Year and will be honored next month in Las Vegas at the EMS World Expo’s opening ceremony.
Ryan Houser, 21, is a volunteer EMT for the Morris Minute Men EMS and is its assistant captain. Houser became an EMT when he was 16 and joined the Minute Men that same year.
“It was a great honor to be recognized as the top EMT in the nation as I work with many great practitioners and know that there are many more across the country who do great work,” Houser said. “We had a past captain win the same award seven years ago, so to be on a similar level with him is an honor due to all the work he did for our organization and EMS in the state.”
Nominees for the Paramedic and EMT of the Year Awards are scored on how the nominee provides superior patient care, is an effective advocate for patients and their families, works with peers to foster a positive work environment, demonstrates professionalism in interacting with patients, their families and other medical professionals, and demonstrates a commitment to continuing professional education.
One of his colleagues with the Minute Men, Kendall Sarson, commended him on the award.
“Ryan dedicates considerable time to his pursuit of providing exceptional patient care to individuals in the pre-hospital and hospital setting,” Sarson said. “Ryan has truly modeled his entire life around helping others, whether patient or peer, and his work as an EMT has become one of the most significant parts of his identity.”
Being an EMT can be challenging, but it is worth it, Sarson said.
“Being an EMT is extremely rewarding,” Houser said. “To be able to help someone having one of the worst days of their lives is something that you can’t do elsewhere. There are some difficult calls that make being an EMT a challenge. The same reasons that make EMS rewarding are also the challenges, since you are seeing people at their worst.”
In January, he helped deliver a baby, and in November 2015, he did CPR that saved a man’s life.
As the assistant captain, he helps with operational readiness and recruitment and chairs the agency’s membership and equipment committees. He is creating awareness videos to benefit community education and encourage agency volunteers.
Houser, who attends Rutgers University, is also a firefighter with Morris Township Fire Department, an EMT for the Cedar Knolls Fire Department and Morris County OEM, serves on judiciary committees to support juveniles and works at Morristown Medical Center as an emergency technician.
He was one of the first in his family to volunteer in public safety. Only his grandfather, Herbert Miller, who served in the Air Force, and his uncle, Michael Vinci, who is a volunteer firefighter, have done anything like this.