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This past weekend we celebrated Russ Coonradt, EMT and Navy Corpsman, Petty Officer Second Class who was named the 2018 EMS Educator of Excellence.

Russ was one of the founding pioneers who established a free EMT Course specifically designed and available to US Military Veterans. In partnership with CPHM, Russ was the Certified Lab Instructor (CLI) for the inaugural course in 2016 and was the Certified Instructor Coordinator (CIC) for the recent 2018 course.

Throughout both courses, Russ was an integral contributor to both the program success as well as the student’s personal achievement. Russ has demonstrated selfless service, dedication and innovation to this program. He is consistently looking for ways to bolster the quality of the curriculum and give the students as much value out of the experience as possible.

Russ is currently looking at strategic ways that this course model could be offered to Veterans across New York State. As with each initiative he leads, he is always looking at the big picture and how he can help promote the most impact and benefit for our community Veterans.

As a matter of fact the 2018 Veteran EMT students all passed their PSE on their first attempt as well as passed the written test! What an incredible accomplishment and testimony to Russ’s leadership and Educator Excellence.

Russ’s contribution to EMS far exceeds his professional work as an EMT in both the Navy as well as his EMS and Fire service. He has taken his experiences, and identified an opportunity to branch Military Service into Emergency Medical Services.

Through the creation of a Veteran EMT course, he has created a program where US Military Veteran’s are able to complete the EMT curriculum in the company of other Veteran peers who share similar backgrounds in their service. This model has proven to be extremely successful as the students have an immediate connection and most often, quickly fortify that bond and develop strong, supportive relationships.

The ultimate goal of the course, was to give Veteran’s an opportunity for a free education and certification that could be applied to meaningful employment, much like their Military service.

In addition to the EMT training and education, through community partnerships and sponsorship, this course has provided Veteran specific resources and connections that they might not have been exposed to otherwise.