Doña Ana County



In a statewide competition among county emergency response agencies, Doña Ana County and American Medical Response pulled in three of 1999's most coveted awards: the EMS Systems Excellence Award; the Health Promotion Award; and the Intermediate EMT of the Year Award.

All the awards are scheduled to be presented at a banquet later this month in Santa Fe.

County Fire Marshal Adolf Zubia said the awards, sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Health, reflect well on the level of professionalism among the county’s emergency response personnel, as well as the level of service being provided to residents of Doña Ana County.

The EMS Systems Award recognizes the strong network of partnerships among all emergency responders in the county: 17 volunteer fire departments; the fire departments of Las Cruces, New Mexico State University, Santa Teresa and Sunland Park; the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority; American Medical Response, Inc.; Hatch Ambulance Service; Memorial Medical Center; the Doña Ana County Office of Emergency Management; the Doña Ana County Chapter of the American Red Cross; and the county Sheriff’s Departments and municipal police departments.

Part of the nomination for the EMS Systems Award, co-signed by Zubia, LeAnn Phillips of AMR and Louis Roman of Las Cruces Fire and Emergency services, reads as follows: "As the EMS system in Doña Ana County continues to evolve, we find that success is based on continued participation and communication between all agencies involved in the system.
We have worked hard to develop relations which facilitate program growth and continual improvement in the delivery of emergency medical systems. The end result is improved quality in the delivery of emergency medical services to the residents of Doña Ana County.”
The Health Promotion Award recognizes the state’s most outstanding effort to educate residents about topical matters of health and safety. Doña Ana County won for the “Every 15 Minutes” program that was held April 22, 1999 at Mayfield High School. In that program, area emergency responders and personnel from Mayfield High worked together to create a dramatic example of the dangers of drinking and driving. The end result of the two-day exercise was a heightened understanding by the students and the community punctuated by a standing ovation at an MHS assembly that capped the event.

MHS Principal Bob Ogaz, writing in support of the award nomination, said, “ I have had many students and their parents comment on the impact the program has had in their every day decision making. It was a very positive step in trying to bring a very serious problem under some control.”

The Intermediate EMT of the Year Award pitted emergency medical technicians from all over the state against one another to determine who was most deserving of statewide recognition. The winner, Kathleen Sutter of the Doña Ana Volunteer Fire Department, was hailed by Zubia as “a highly qualified and experienced EMT, who is willing to share her knowledge and experience with other members of the organization.” Zubia said that Sutter, 48 and a mother of two, has responded to nearly 90 percent of the DAVFD’s calls since joining the organization in 1994.

DAVFD Chief Dennis Pacheco called Sutter an excellent volunteer whose compassion in the field and toward other volunteers has earned her the nickname of “Mom,” by which she is known in all 16 of the county’s volunteer fire departments.