UAF Fire Department takes home awards

The University Fire Department was honored recently by the Interior Region EMS Council. From left: Capt. Greg Bean, educator of the year; Dr. Maria Mandich, medical director of the year; Joseph Ferlauto, EMT provider of the year; Chief Dough Schrage, EMS service of the year.

The University Fire Department took home an armload of awards from the Interior Region EMS Council recently.

“We’re really good at what we do,” said Fire Chief Doug Schrage.

“Our cardiac arrest survival rate here at UAF is better than the statewide average. We have 29.2%, the statewide average is 27%.

“I’m very proud of the skills and outcomes we produce,” he added.

These annual awards recognize outstanding achievement and performance of medical and emergency services. This year, they were awarded virtually.

The University Fire Department was selected as the EMS Service of the Year.

Joseph Ferlauto received the EMT Provider of the Year award, in particular for successful cardiac arrest saves.

Capt. Greg Bean was awarded the EMS Educator of the Year award, for developing and delivering UAF’s CPR and AED training program.

Dr. Maria Mandich, medical director, received the Medical Director of the Year award. Although not a UAF employee, she also serves as medical director for China Goldstream and Ester Fire Departments.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Fire Department hires full-time college students as full-time employees.

“They are supervised by career employees that have quite a bit of experience,” Schrage said. “For those who make it past the first year, 90% will get a job and a degree.

“The challenge is getting them through that first year,” he said. “It’s tough to be a first-year student out of high school and learn to be a college student and a full-time firefighter/EMT at the same time.”

So far, the program is a successful one.

The Interior Region Emergency Medical Services Council is a Fairbanks-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving emergency medical care in Interior Alaska. The group also promotes common safety and public education throughout a 236,000-square-mile region that stretches from the Brook Range to the Alaska Range and from the border of Canada to Kaltag.


FRTA Scholarships

Five students will receive $1,500 scholarships from the Fairbanks Retired Teachers Association. Here are the winners, along with observations by the judges.

Vicki Ann Lovelace graduates from North Pole High School. She has been accepted to Pennsylvania State University where she plans to major in education and eventually teach elementary school students. She has an outstanding record of volunteer work and excellent employment history for such a young person.

Luke Millam graduates at the top of Lathrop High School’s senior class. He seeks a career in engineering/computer science and is especially interested in innovation and research applications. In addition to maintaining scholastic excellence, he has a strong history in athletics and school volunteering. His college choices are Stanford, Yale or Harvey Mudd.

Thea Millam also graduates from Lathrop High School and holds the #2 spot in the senior class. She hopes to pursue a career in sports medicine. She has a strong history in athletics, including track, and is one of Alaska’s top five competitive figure skaters. She established a business that earned money to support the MathCounts program, where she also coaches.

Gage E. Tilly graduates from West Valley High School. He plans a career in computer design and programming. He also participates in athletics, hockey, and has volunteered with. The National Honor Society’s fundraiser for The Door and at the Fairbanks Community Food Bank. His college choices include Drexel, University of Utah, University of California Santa Cruz, Rensselaer, Rochester Institute and Ohio State University. Accepted by all these universities, his decision is pending.

Grace Veenstra graduates from West Valley High School. She is considering a dual major in physics and psychology, leading to an advisory role in climate science issues. She seeks a career path to help improve  the world’s environment. She created a website entry for the National History Day Project, which won first place in the region and in the state. The topic was Marie Curie’s research.

The retired teachers who chose these students represent 211 years of teaching experience. The committee included Joyce Bennett, Kanza Easterly-Keill, Marilyn Nigro, Karen Shaner, Trish Stark, Flora Wiltse and Jude Rae Smith.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.