SARASOTA, Fla. – Congressman Vern Buchanan today announced the winners of the 16th Congressional District Fire and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Awards. Buchanan established the awards to give special recognition to fire and rescue and EMS personnel who have provided distinguished service to his constituents back in 2012. 

“As first responders, fire departments and EMS teams are summoned on short notice to serve their communities,” said Buchanan. “Oftentimes, they arrive at scenes of great adversity and trauma, to which they reliably bring strength and composure. I believe these awards are a fitting tribute to our first responders and a reminder of the important role they play in our communities.” 

This year’s award recipients were selected by an independent committee comprised of a cross section of current and retired fire and rescue personnel living in the district.

Buchanan presented awards to the following outstanding fire and rescue and EMS personnel:

Dedication and Professionalism Award:

Manatee County EMS District Chief Jason Evans

Cedar Hammock Fire Inspector Adam Chrisman

Hillsborough County Fire Captain Kevin Kahmeyer

Career Service Award:

Parrish Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Ownbey

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Shift Commander Gil Reyes

Manatee County EMS Operations Chief Larry Luh

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Marshall Ray Hansen

Preservation of Life Award:

Manatee County EMS Paramedic Lydia Wilkinson

Manatee County EMS Charge Paramedic Karleigh Alday

Manatee County EMS Charge Paramedic Joe Savasta

Manatee County EMS Paramedic Carlos Santos

Above & Beyond the Call of Duty Award:

Manatee County EMS Charge Paramedic Joe Savasta

Manatee County EMS Paramedic Carlos Santos

Unit Citation:

East Manatee Fire Lieutenant Steve Baker, East Manatee Firefighter Larry White and East Manatee Firefighter Michael Guard