California emergency medical services providers and associates – including Escalon Community Ambulance Chief Mike Pitassi – were recognized for exceptional acts of bravery and service to their communities and to the state at a luncheon ceremony in San Francisco earlier this month.
Dr. Howard Backer, Director of the EMS Authority, and EMS Chair of the Commission, Lew Stone, presented the 2014 EMS Awards.
For Pitassi, the recognition was one his peers feel is well-deserved, noting he has been the guiding force behind Escalon Community Ambulance for years.
Information in the program presented at the awards ceremony had this to say about the ECA Chief:
“Principled and self-motivated, Michael Pitassi leverages his 39 years of knowledge and experience in the EMS field to provide exceptional leadership of Escalon Community Ambulance. As an EMS chief, Michael has kept a rural agency afloat that would have failed under less astute leadership. As an EMT program director and field training officer, Michael trained the current and next generation of EMS leaders in Stanislaus & San Joaquin counties. As an EMT and paramedic, he has provided clinically competent, professional, and compassionate care. As an EMS leader, Michael has consistently and continually made tough decisions, always in the best interest of patient care and his community.”
The Escalon resident grew up in Oakdale and graduated from Oakdale High School. He and his wife Karen are both in the emergency medical services field and they have three sons.
Pitassi was one of several EMS honorees recognized for their dedication to service and excellence in their work at the early December awards ceremony.
“Brave. Dedicated. Willing. Reliable. These words describe the 80,000 licensed or certified EMS providers in California. They demonstrate these qualities every day by coming to the aid of others when they are most in need and working to ensure that the EMS system operates well. However, each year, due to circumstance or extraordinary effort, certain individuals among us shine,” the awards program stated.
The program honors special accomplishments, meritorious and heroic acts, innovations or fresh ideas to improve EMS in the state, or other unique and/or significant contributions by EMS personnel, physicians, nurses, EMTs, other medical providers, local officials, members of the law enforcement community, citizens, and first responders. Award categories include Medal of Valor, EMS Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Lifesaving Medal, Community Service Award, Inter-service EMS Recognition Medal, Civilian Award for EMS, EMT of the Year Award, EMS Educator of the Year Award, EMS Medical Director of the Year Award and EMS Administrator of the Year Award. Clinical Excellence Awards will be presented at the recipients’ home stations.
Pitassi received his recognition in the Meritorious Service Award category.
The luncheon ceremony was hosted at the Marines’ Memorial Hotel in San Francisco on Dec. 3.
The six individuals who comprised the review committee to select the honorees out of the nominees are members of the California Ambulance Association (CAA), the California Fire Chiefs Association, the Emergency Medical Directors Association of California (EMDAC), the Emergency Medical Services Administrators’ Association of California (EMSAAC), California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) and one at-large member selected by the EMS Authority.