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Yosemite medic named 2018 outstanding forest firefighter

Courtesy of Yosemite National Park

Heather Wonenberg, with a helicopter near El Capitan.


The National Wildfire Coordinating Group in Boise, Idaho, has awarded Yosemite National Park Helitack member Heather Wonenberg the 2018 Outstanding Wildfire EMS Individual of the Year Award. This award recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding work, actions, or programs in emergency medical service for our Nation’s Wildland Firefighters.

Over the course of the past eight years Heather has invested her personal time and motivation to advance her skills within the medical treatment arena, according to a news release from Yosemite National Park.

Wonenberg has taken the initiative to implement the Yosemite Fire and Aviation Helicopter Emergency Medical Services program, training Yosemite National Park medical personnel on proper methods of patient care during helicopter operations, focusing on training modules and field-based scenarios, the news release said.

Wonenberg also acts as the Yosemite Fire Medical Coordinator. This responsibility allows her to maintain the accountability of the crew EMTs and ensure they are receiving quality training and assurance checks. Wonenberg’s wealth of experience enables her to act as a subject matter expert and critical instructor for Yosemite National Park wildland firefighters and cooperating Yosemite National Park medical personnel.

“Operationally, she is a short-haul rescue medic and continually puts the care of others first. she has led calls in countless rescue missions that have saved the lives of many. Heather is a dedicated crew member and crew lead.”

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