Paramedics celebrated at annual dinner

Automated external defibrillator presented to Guelph Public Library

Guelph, Ont., September 28, 2018 – Last night, the Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service (GWPS) hosted its fifth annual celebration and awards dinner at the Alma Community Centre.

The event is an opportunity for the City of Guelph and Wellington County to recognize and praise the work that is done by paramedics locally.

The GWPS presented certificates to Lori VanderMeulen, Amy Benn, Kevin Steinke, and Paul Boshart—this year’s recipients of the Governor General Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal. Medals were handed out in London on September 20 at the Ontario Paramedic Chiefs Association gala.

Thirty-seven paramedics received pins that recognize their years of service to the community. The GWPS also recognized the Guelph Community Health Centre and University of Guelph for their collaborative work on projects that benefit the community.

Members of the GWPS Ride for Heart bike team, who raise funds throughout the year to purchase AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) for the community, presented a defibrillator to the Guelph Public Library. The new AED will be located at the Scottsdale branch.  

The GWPS Public Access Defibrillator program includes more than 315 AEDs located throughout Guelph and Wellington County. They can be found at public venues, community centres, hockey arenas, and in most schools.

“Providing defibrillators in public spaces will save lives. Research shows that victims of cardiac arrest have the best chance of survival when there is early access to CPR and defibrillation,” said Leanne Swantko, deputy chief, Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service.

Guelph resident John Annis, the evening’s keynote speaker, spoke about his life changing experience—cardiac arrest—during a cycling trip last January. He described how his life was saved by an off duty nurse who performed CPR while another passerby put a bag-valve mask kit on him until paramedics arrived at the scene. This meant he was getting oxygen circulating to vital organs. When paramedics arrived, a defibrillator was used to get his pulse back. Advanced care life support was started and continued during his transport to the hospital.

Each year at the celebration, paramedics host an informal fundraiser for a charity or cause. This year, $2,100 was raised for CAMP F.A.C.E.S.—a summer camp for children and families of emergency services following a line of duty death or suicide.

About Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service

Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service provides ambulance services to Guelph and Wellington county residents. With a staff of more than 160 part- and full-time paramedics and a fleet of 12 ambulances and emergency response vehicles, GWPS responds annually to about 25,000 calls for medical assistance. To learn more, visit

For more information

Leanne Swantko, Deputy Chief
Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service
519-822-1260 extension 2105