Benjamin Cohen and Danielle Cohen, two emergency medical technicians with Northwell Health’s Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) in Syosset, were recognized as Stars of Life by the American Ambulance Association (AAA) at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The dynamic duo, who are unrelated, were joined by Northwell colleagues William Bailey (Lenox Hill Hospital) and Robert Mazzo (Staten Island University Hospital), who were also recognized. The AAA highlights excellence and contributions made by EMS workers across the county at the annual event in the nation’s capitol.
Mr. Cohen, a resident of Searingtown, has been an EMT for six years. After working in a hospital emergency department, he says there was no hesitation to get out in the field and into an ambulance himself. He got his EMT certification and joined Northwell Health’s CEMS in 2014.
Mr. Cohen says it was the strong moral structure he had growing up that influenced him. “It’s good to put yourself into situations where you can help people. That was a big drive,” he said. “My father is a dentist and he was also a lifeguard so he always got us into that. When he had a heart attack it was scary for the whole family because we thought we’d lose him. I guess in the back of your mind you always hope you have the skill to help somebody if that were to happen to a family member.”
Ms. Cohen, of Stony Brook, has been an EMT for 20 years, and like Mr. Cohen, a personal experience led her into the career of helping others. “When I was younger my grandfather was really sick and he was treated very poorly at home and in the hospital by the people that were supposed to be taking care of him,” she said. “At a very young age I vowed that if I was ever in a position to help someone, I would never let them be treated the way my grandfather was treated. That was my intention and still is today.”
Ms. Cohen joined Northwell CEMS in 2002 both in the field as an EMT and also as a communications specialist. She continues both roles today. She started her career at age 18, working for the Port Jefferson Volunteer Ambulance.
Of both recipients, “We are honored and privileged to work with such great people on our team,” Thomas Hughes, field supervisor at Northwell CEMS, said of the two recipients. “Seeing them recognized for their hard work and dedication to the profession makes us all very proud and provides a platform for the recognition of the EMS industry, as well as the great people that protect and serve within it.”
To be eligible for nomination for the AAA Stars of Life program, ambulance services employees must go beyond their given work responsibilities, contribute to their communities through volunteer work or leadership, and have service records that incorporate the mission of ambulance operation.
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