Two Riggs Ambulance Service employees honored at Capitol

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comApril 23, 2013 

Two Riggs Ambulance Service employees were honored Tuesday at the state Capitol in Sacramento for their dedication to their jobs and community.

Kelly Kinkade, an emergency medical technician, and Robert Smith, a paramedic, were among 29 emergency medical service professionals receiving "Stars of Life" awards.

The event, sponsored by the California Ambulance Association, recognizes the top emergency medical professionals.

"While EMS professionals are trained to respond appropriately during medical emergencies, it's a very difficult job," said Helen Pierson, association board chairwoman, in a news release. "It's important to honor them for serving our community members during their most vulnerable moments."

Kinkade and Smith got the opportunity to meet with Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, and state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, while in Sacramento. They discussed emergency medical services, including ambulance service providers' value and quality across the state.

Riggs General Manager Steve Melander said the two Merced award recipients spent "countless hours" mentoring the next generation of emergency medical service providers.

"While all of our employees are dedicated to great patient care, these two Stars of Life exemplify our mission at Riggs Ambulance Service of giving back to the community," he said.

Kinkade is praised for promoting EMS careers among youth and as one of the best EMT field training officers over the past three years. Smith is known for inspiring his peers and participating in community service events on and off duty.

The "Star of Life" medals were presented during a ceremony at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or

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