One of the highest honours a paramedic can receive has been awarded to one from Muskoka.

Paramedic Geordie Heath has been awarded the Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal. The medal is handed out by the Governor General. According to the Governor General’s website it, “recognizes professionals in the provision of pre-hospital emergency medical services to the public, who have performed their duties in an exemplary manner, characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency.”

“I was surprised to receive it,” Heath tells the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom.

He has spent over two decades with Muskoka Paramedics Services, which is one of the requirements to receive the medal. Deputy Chief of Paramedic Services and Emergency Planning for the District of Muskoka Stuart McKinnon says Heath is always first in line to help support his peers, educate community members on what paramedics do and support youth at events.

“Just an all-around great paramedic and caring individual,” McKinnon says.

Geordie Heath and his wife Yvonne co-founded Love Your Life to Death (Photo credit: loveyourlifetodeath.com)

Heath and his wife Yvonne co-founded Love Your Life to Death as a way to support people dealing with grief. “When we plan and prepare before grief arrives, something amazing happens,” the organization’s website reads. “We can live more fully today.” 

Heath has also spent nearly a decade working with the Ontario Emergency Medical Assistance Team who helps the province respond to emergencies.  In the past year, that’s meant he’s been busy helping provincial officials deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, but before that he assisted with the intake of Syrian refugees in Toronto and was in Ottawa in 2019 to help the city recover from the tornadoes that touched down in late September.

McKinnon says Heath is a part of a long line of Muskoka paramedics that have received the medal. Heath says he’s proud to now have his name added to the list of local paramedics that have been honoured. That includes his mom who inspired him to begin his career as a paramedic. “My mother used to work with the ambulance service – back when it was Muskoka Ambulance Service,” he explains, adding his father was part of the paramedic’s baseball team. “From an early age, I was able to learn about what the job entailed and realized that’s something I wanted to do when I was older.”

“You can always do more,” Heath says. “You can always help out in other situations.”

Having started with paramedic services in 1999, he says he’s always looking for new ways to challenge himself and support the community. “It’s a new way to create some excitement,” Heath says. 

“We’re really lucky to have a great group of paramedics here who go above and beyond every day in what they do,” McKinnon finishes.