Commissioners receive Dr. George Moerkirk Memorial Contribution to EMS Award

The Pike County Commissioners are honored to receive the prestigious 2024 Dr. George Moerkirk Memorial Contribution to EMS Award for their dedication and work toward improving Emergency Medical Services in Pike County. The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council attended the June 5 Commissioners' Meeting to present the award to the Commissioners.

The Dr. George Moerkirk Memorial Contribution to EMS Award is in memory of George Moerkirk, the past President of Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council. Dr. Moerkirk was instrumental in the development and growth of Pennsylvania’s EMS system. This award honors an individual or organization who has provided a significant contribution to the Pennsylvania EMS system in either statewide, regional, or local system development or administration, EMS agency development or administration advancement, clinical care education, professional development, medical direction, research, advancement in safety or injury prevention or vehicle or technical rescue. The selection of this year’s award recipient is a joint project of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of EMS and the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council. 

At the meeting, Anthony Martin, Director of the Bureau of EMS, Pennsylvania Department of Health said, “The award we’re presenting today recognizes strong examples of care and compassion as leaders, innovators and mentors dedicated to the community and the people who live and visit and work here.”

The Commissioners were named recipients of this award for their EMS Matching Grant Program which provides a municipality with a sustainable funding stream by combining municipal funding with a match of County dollars. Each municipality is encouraged to apply for up to a 2-mil match. The 2-mil match comes from general tax-payer dollars. This match equates to about $35 per household. These funds are to be used to support Pike County EMS agencies with staffing, training, and equipment. Through the Pike County EMS Matching Grant Fund Program, more than $4M has been made available to support County EMS agencies.

The most significant outcome of the EMS Matching Grant Program is the reduction in overall response times, seeing pre-hospital care arrive in a manner of minutes versus times in excess of twenty-five minutes.

Martin stated, “In place of EMS agencies closing their doors as is occurring in many areas in the State, Pike County EMS agencies are seeing improvement in all categories of need. Most importantly, Pike County residents are seeing an improvement in Emergency Medical Services availability and care delivery.”

Commissioner Matthew Osterberg thanked the state agencies for their recognition. He continued, “As Commissioners, we are not required to have a program such as this. Despite their small size and financial constraints, legislation still delegates all EMS responsibility to the municipal level. However, we recognized that to have good, ample ambulance services in this County, it takes the entire community.”

Commissioner Ronald Schmalzle added, “Thank you. Pike was in a severe crisis. Through this program and with Tim Knapp’s leadership, we’ve made a difference. We believe that lives have been saved.”

Photo ID: Left to right: Commissioner Ronald Schmalzle; Bob Carpenter, Executive Director of Northeast EMS; Commissioners Christa Caceres and Matthew Osterberg; Anthony Martin, Director of the Bureau of EMS, Pennsylvania Department of Health; Janette Swade, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council; Dave Jones, President of Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council; and Tony Deaven, Vice President of PA Emergency Health Services Council.