Justin Lammers, an Alumnus of Distinction at St. Clair College, was honoured by the province for his outstanding act of bravery in the face of danger when he saved a swimmer from drowning in 2019.
Lammers, the Deputy Chief of Professional Standards at the Essex Windsor District Emergency Medical Services, was one of 13 people to receive the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery by the provincial government.
While on vacation December 9, 2019, Deputy Chief Lammers noticed that a swimmer was struggling in the ocean, 200 feet offshore. He tried to communicate with the swimmer using hand signs, but it became apparent that the man was in trouble and needed immediate help. With no life jacket or flotation device nearby, he grabbed his son’s bodyboard and ran towards the water. Deputy Chief Lammers was able to get to the struggling swimmer and provided him with the bodyboard to rest upon until the beach police boat arrived and brought them onboard.
Deputy Chief Lammers graduated from St. Clair College’s Paramedic Program in 2005 and was hired by Essex-Windsor EMS. He has worked on numerous committees related to Emergency Management, Mental Health for First Responders, Public Health and Citizen Care. He has liaised for EMS on special events, policy and procedure and strategic planning.
In 2019, he received the Alumni of Distinction award, and joined the distinguished list of St. Clair College graduates who have excelled in their chosen professions.
Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries, are presenting the awards to 13 individuals in a virtual ceremony, honouring 11 recipients from nominations submitted in 2019 and two recipients from 2020.
“Paramedics are on the frontlines when it comes to protecting our communities and saving lives. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen paramedics performing incredible acts of service and generosity,” said Premier Doug Ford. “From assisting with the vaccine rollout to alleviating hospital capacity by helping with home care, they have been here to support us every step of the way. On behalf of everyone in Ontario, I want to thank each of them for their service and congratulate this year’s winners of the Paramedic Bravery Awards. You are true heroes.”
“As we celebrate Paramedic Services Week in Ontario, I am honoured to recognize the 13 recipients who have shown exceptional courage in dangerous and often life-threatening circumstances,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Every day and especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, paramedics have consistently stepped up to protect the health and wellbeing of Ontarians in their time of need. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all of Ontario’s paramedics for their incredible work and for being there when your communities need you the most.”
The recipients are being recognized for their individual acts of courage, including rescuing a trapped driver from a vehicle, delivering medical treatment to a patient in a confined space and rescuing a mother and her two children from a residential fire.
Paramedics have played a critical role in Ontario’s fight against COVID-19, from conducting swabbing and testing, protecting health system and hospital capacity by supporting patient transfers, and they continue to support Ontario’s vaccine rollout, including administering vaccines to individuals who have limited mobility and cannot travel to a mass immunization clinic, the province said in a statement.
“I would like to thank Premier Ford and Minister Elliott for taking time to recognize the bravery of these paramedics who went beyond their call of duty,” said Peter Dundas, President of the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs. “These paramedics put patients first and demonstrated fearless dedication to saving lives. They exemplify the virtues of this award and what it means to be a paramedic stepping up to serve their community every day. Congratulations to all.”