Awards for an E.M.S. Standout

Mark Poitras received not one, but two awards from the Southampton Town EMS Advisory Committee’s dinner at the Coast Grill Friday night. He took home the Nancy Makson Award of Excellence and the Ralph Oswald Distinction for Inspirational Leadership. Pictured with him is Stacy McGowin, the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps Chief, and Violetta Zamorski, the head of the EMS Advisory Committee. Taylor K. Vecsey

Mark Poitras did not get into emergency medical services for the awards, but he has certainly been racking them up recently. 

A volunteer critical-care technician with the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps and a Suffolk County E.M.S. instructor, Mr. Poitras received not one but two awards on Friday night alone. The Southampton Town E.M.S. Advisory Committee surprised him with the Nancy Makson Award of Excellence and the Ralph Oswald Distinction for Inspirational Leadership at its annual dinner. All the agencies that serve throughout the town nominate members for the awards. 

The dinner came just a month after Mr. Poitras learned he had been named the Suffolk County Regional Emergency Medical Services Committee’s 2017 E.M.S. Educator of Excellence, an award that also memorializes Mr. Oswald. He is the ambulance corps’ member of the year as well. 

He first became an emergency medical technician in 2004 and quickly moved on to become an E.M.T.-C.C.. He has been a county instructor since 2006. With Mary Mott of East Hampton, he teaches the only E.M.T. class east of the Shinnecock Canal, held yearly in Sag Harbor starting in September and lasting nearly seven months. He does this on top of his full-time job as a certified financial planner and raising a family.

“We enjoy the benefits of having a great instructor right in our district, and it’s great to share this member with everyone on the East End,” Stacy McGowin, chief of the corps, wrote in her nomination of Mr. Poitras. 

At Friday night’s dinner, held at the Coast Grill in Southampton, a half-dozen of his students who are members of other agencies were in the room by chance. He estimates he has helped teach 200 students over the years.

“I like to be able to teach people and see them out using it, which is pretty cool. That’s the motivation to keep doing it,” he said. “The main driver is that you get to see other people get out there and do good that way.”

The pat on the back for the years of hard work was a nice surprise, he said. Receiving an award named after Ralph Oswald, whom he knew, “was really an honor,” Mr. Poitras said. 

Mr. Oswald was a county instructor and a paramedic with the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance Corps who had a heart attack and died in 2015, while on a cardiac arrest call. He was 64 years old. 

“Ralph started teaching about the same time I did, as far as being a lead instructor. We did have some nice camaraderie,” Mr. Poitras said. “Certainly his dedication in E.M.S. was apparent.” 

His other award is named for Nancy Makson, a founding member of the Flanders-Northampton Volunteer Ambulance, who died in 2009.

The Bridgehampton Fire Department nominated Harry Halsey, a firefighter who has been an ambulance driver for 12 years. Mr. Halsey, a Sagaponack resident, responds to over 200 E.M.S calls per year, on top of his firefighting responsibilities.

Harry Halsey, the Bridgehampton Fire Department’s nominee for the Nancy Makson Award of Excellence for 2017, was presented with a jacket from the Bridgehampton Emergency Medical Services Company to thank him for his service. Taylor K. Vecsey