The Iowa EMS Association’s Board of Directors honored Jerry Johnston, President of the National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) with the Spirit of Leadership award during their annual conference November 2006.
Jerry Johnston’s desire for a career in EMS began in a Burlington, Iowa, ambulance service owned and operated by his father, Ernest Johnston, during the 1960s and 70s. Jerry began running calls in 1975, while still in high school, at a time in EMS when no formal classes or certifications were required.
As Johnston was attending College in Oskaloosa (IA) obtaining his BA in Business Management and Economics, and working part-time at Henry County Health Center EMS in Mt. Pleasant (IA), he began his formal EMS education, attending EMT-A class in 1979. He achieved EMT-I in 1981, and in 1982 became one of the first EMT-II’s in the state of Iowa. Jerry obtained his Paramedic certification in 1983.
In 1986, while working for Mary Greely Medical Center in Ames (IA), Jerry attended a pilot EMS instructor class, becoming one of the first trained EMS instructors in the state. EMS training and education became an integral part of his career at Mary Greely, continuing when he returned to Mt. Pleasant in 1989. Jerry has instructed all levels of EMS, serving as a Training Officer, EMT-B Training Program and Continuing Education Coordinator, and Paramedic Instructor, as well as presenting at local, regional and national EMS conferences.
Through Jerry’s leadership as Director of EMS, beginning in 1989, Henry County Health Center/EMS has distinguished itself as a progressive EMS service in Iowa providing all ALS transport and Critical Care Transfer services for Henry County. They are recognized as being among the first to begin obtaining and transmitting prehospital 12-Lead ECG’s, as well as the first service in Iowa to begin administering Fibrynolytics in a prehospital setting, starting in 1996.
They continue to participate in innovative prehospital studies today, being one of 10 services, participating in the IROC study with the University of Iowa. Under Jerry’s direction, HCHC EMS was named Paramedic Service of the Year by both IEMSA and NAEMT in 1998.