Local Paramedic Mike Cogsdill Honored as 'Star of Life'

Local Paramedic Captain Mike Cogsdill was recently honored by the American Ambulance Association as a 2014 "Star of Life."

Each year, the American Ambulance Association hosts the Stars of Life event in Washington, DC to publicly recognize and celebrate the achievements of their members. The award is the highest honor an Emergency Medical Service worker can receive.

American Ambulance Association President Jimmy Johnson said, "As a community, we understand that we are stronger when we take a moment to remember who we are and what we have done. That is why our organization strives to spotlight the best of the best in the emergency medical services field during the Stars of Life event."

Past Stars of Life have included heroic individuals involved with the response to September 11 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "However," Johnson notes, "all of our stars have performed a duty equally important to the communities they serve on a daily basis."

While in Washington DC March 24-26, Cogsdill joined his fellow Class of 2014 Stars for three days of education and recognition on Capitol Hill.

One of the highlights of the event was when Jeff Bauman, who lost both his legs during the Boston Marathon bombing, gave a moving keynote address and presented each of the "Stars" with his or her medal as a reminder that EMS providers are true heroes.

Additionally, Cogsdill and his host, Louis Mendiola, a 2013 Star of Life, met with Nevada dignitaries, including Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller and Representative Mark Amodei, to discuss legislative issues critical to all Emergency Medical Service professionals.

"We are so proud of Mike for receiving this high honor," said HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer. "He has devoted his time, talent and strength to improving our community and we offer our most sincere congratulations."

Cogsdill started his career at HGH EMS Rescue in 2011 as a paramedic and preceptor. In January 2013, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in the Community Paramedicine division; last month, he was named captain and the head of the agency's Community Paramedicine program.

The term community paramedicine was first coined in this country in 2001. The health care model continues to recognize EMS as providing rapid response, but also allows for paramedics to aid in prevention, evaluation, triage, referral and advice in an effort to reduce visits to the emergency department.

Humboldt General Hospital currently has eight certified community paramedics—all led by Cogsdill.

Their job is to formally identify patients who could benefit from the home services such as hospital discharge follow-up, home safety inspections, blood draws, oxygen saturation checks, medication reconciliation and /or wound care.

The service already has experienced good success with a community flu shot program as well as an outreach program aimed at Humboldt County's diabetics.

Songer said Cogsdill's dedication to the program as well as his competency, loyalty and honesty have helped the program gain a strong foothold in Humboldt County.

"Mike exemplifies the professional pre-hospital provider," said Songer, "from his dedication to the community and his leadership by example to mentoring new employees and acting as a community liaison."

Songer added, "We are seeing success with this program, in large part due to Mike; we are thrilled he has received this national recognition for his efforts."