BEAUMONT — Two Southeast Texas health care leaders were honored and many others recognized this week at the annual Southeast Texas Medical Center Emergency Medical Services Stewards Awards Banquet.
Josh Snow, the hospital’s president and CEO, said the annual event is something Steward Health Care does to bring all first responders together to show their appreciation.
“It’s really just a chance for us to say ‘thank you,'” he said.
“Often this is the one area that is sadly overlooked, but not by us. I often tell our own internal staff that healthcare is like a wheel and spoke model, where you have several different disciplines that make everything works, everything lines up and that’s a beautiful thing.
The banquet, held at Courville’s Catering in Beaumont, brought together law enforcement and medical professionals for a dinner and awards ceremony.
Ashlee Noble-Smith, who works for Air Rescue and also owns Lifesaving Tactics and Training, and Frances Garza, an intensive care paramedic and supervisor of Acadian Ambulance Services, were recognized as community stewards.
“(They) go above and beyond their already difficult and challenging duty,” said Lydia Worthen, emergency management coordinator and EMS liaison for the Medical Center of Southeast Texas.
“In both of their nominations, they were cited for their response to disasters. Mrs. Frances, they call her a mom. She takes care of everyone. Ashley, during Hurricane Imelda, I was actually (responsible) the day she came to help. She couldn’t fly so she introduced herself and said, ‘What can I do?’ »
Nobles-Smith was working out of town on the night of the banquet, so co-worker and friend Beth Melancon accepted her award on her behalf.
“She’s definitely living her passion, and her passion is just saving lives and educating others to save lives,” said Melancon, who works in clinical education for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
“Ashley is just a remarkable woman who works really hard and she is very passionate about what she does. It clearly shows in the people she touches, the lives she saves and I am so honored and so privileged to help save lives with it.
Garza said caring for those who care for others is his reward.
“I love taking care of them so they can take care of the community,” said Garza, who works in Port Arthur. “If they need anything, me and my team are there. And I love that. I like to take care of the caregiver. I will do it as long as my body allows me.