The entire Air Methods family is thrilled to congratulate Aidan O’Connor, Jr. as a 2020 EMS Advocate of the Year by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). The award recognizes three EMS professionals whose volunteer efforts advance EMS through educating and engaging elected government leaders, EMS and healthcare communities, and the public.

“I am incredibly honored by this recognition,” O’Connor said. “I wholeheartedly believe in the EMS system and the positive impact it has for our patients and communities. EMS is an essential part of emergency services and healthcare systems and I will continue to advocate for our colleagues, patients, and profession.”

NAEMT is the largest professional association for EMS practitioners in the United States and focuses on advancing prehospital emergency care across the country. Each year, they award three individuals a prestigious Advocacy Award based on the following criteria:

  • Educating elected government leaders at the local, state, or federal levels on the components of EMS legislation and how it supports the ability of EMS to provide quality patient care.
  • Building strong relationships with elected officials and their staff who have influence over the passage of EMS legislation.
  • Educating fellow EMS professionals about EMS legislation; how the legislation would impact the ability of EMS to provide quality patient care, the importance of advocating for the legislation, and how to effectively advocate.
  • Engaging members of the EMS profession in advocacy activities in support of EMS legislation.

O’Connor has served as an NAEMT Advocacy Coordinator, attended EMS on the Hill Day several times, as well as advocacy events in his state. He actively communicates with his network of EMS professionals through social media to build support for EMS legislation in New York. He has spoken at state and national EMS conferences on the “ABCs of Change: Advocacy Before Complaining,” which gives advice on turning problems into solutions by way of advocacy.

O’Connor believes so deeply in the importance of advocacy that he ran for public office. He served three years as the minority leader of the Greene County Legislature in Durham, New York. During his time in office, he served on the county Health Services, Resources, and Economic Development committees. While in the legislature, he advocated for more funding for EMS and taught his colleagues hands-only CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). He also secured funds to place 27 public access defibrillators strategically throughout the county.

This year, O’Connor was nominated by his peers and was selected by the NAEMT Board of Directors as an award recipient. Air Methods is incredibly proud to have a dedicated team member like Aidan who is committed to making progress in the EMS community.