W-B Paramedic To Receive Award
WILKES-BARRE — A veteran paramedic with the city fire department recently received the 2018 ALS Practitioner of the Year Award, and Fire Chief Jay Delaney says he’s more than deserving.
Jude Spellman was presented the award, which honors an individual advanced life support provider who has contributed significantly to the development and growth of advanced life support in Pennsylvania, by representatives of the state Department of Health’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council.
Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center nurse Lucy Vavrek nominated Spellman for this year’s award.
“I work in the emergency room and often have the pleasure of receiving patients from Jude. … He provides high quality care and cares for all his patients as his family,” Vavrek said on the nomination form, noting Spellman handles everything from ambulatory patients to gunshot and stabbing victims. “He has the respect of everyone at the hospital.”
Vavrek called Spellman “a huge patient advocate. When this award came up, it was a no-brainer.”
Andrew Snavely, EMS systems specialist with the Emergency Health Services Council, said the choice for this year’s recipient was influenced by Vavrek’s nomination, his length of service and Delaney’s nominating him for the award last year.
The council noted over the past 43 years, Spellman has been instrumental in advancing ALS ambulance service in the city and surrounding area, served in many roles, including chief paramedic, “and continues to serve his community as a full-time paramedic, logging a few thousand calls per year to this day.”
Spellman said he was “overwhelmed with appreciation and heartfelt thanks.”
Delaney said Spellman was one of the first four paramedics on the job when the city started its EMS program in 1975.
“His care and his compassion are equal to or even greater than his skills as a paramedic, and his skills are impeccable,” Delaney said.
Delaney said it’s easy for a paramedic “to get beat up” emotionally and physically, going out on sometimes 17 calls in a shift, day after day, “but somehow he has maintained that commitment.”
How does he do it?
“I was one of the fortunate ones. I knew what I wanted to do when I was 5 years old. And it has to do with the support of my caring family, especially my wife, Eileen, and our five daughters. They’ve been very understanding,” Spellman said, noting that most family pictures from holidays like Christmas and Easter show him in uniform because he was on the job.
“I still love coming to work,” Spellman said.
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