1st responders honored at Medical Center of Southeast Texas’ annual banquet
Published 12:30 am Sunday, May 22, 2022
BEAUMONT — Two leaders in Southeast Texas healthcare were honored and many others recognized this week during The Medical Center of Southeast Texas’ annual Emergency Medical Services Stewards of the Community awards banquet.
Josh Snow, president and CEO for the hospital, said the annual event is something Steward Health Care does to bring all first responders together to show appreciation.
“It’s really just an opportunity for us to say ‘thank you,’” he said.
“Oftentimes, this is the one area that unfortunately gets overlooked, but not by us. I often say to our own internal staff that healthcare is like a wheel-and-spoke model, where you’ve got multiple different disciplines that make it all work, it all lines up, and it’s a beautiful thing.”
The banquet, held at Courville’s Catering in Beaumont, brought law enforcement and healthcare professionals together for dinner and an awards ceremony.
Ashlee Noble-Smith, who works for Air Rescue and also owns Lifesaving Tactics and Training, and Frances Garza, critical care paramedic and supervisor for Acadian Ambulance Services, were recognized as Stewards of the Community.
“(They) go above and beyond their already difficult and challenging call of duty,” said Lydia Worthen, emergency management coordinator and EMS liaison for The Medical Center of Southeast Texas.
“In both of their nominations, they were cited for their disaster response. Ms. Frances, they call her a momma. She takes care of everybody. Ashley, during Hurricane Imelda, I was actually (in charge) the day she came to help. She couldn’t fly so she showed up and said, ‘What can I do?’”
Noble-Smith was working out of town the night of the banquet, so co-worker and friend Beth Melancon accepted her award on her behalf.
“She is definitely living out her passion, and her passion is just saving lives and educating others to save lives,” said Melancon, who works in clinical education for St. Elizabeth Hospital.
“Ashley is just a remarkable woman who definitely works hard and she is very passionate at what she does. It definitely shows in the people she touches, the lives she saves and I’m so honored and so privileged to be a part of lifesaving with her.”
Garza said taking care of those who take care of others is her reward.
“I love taking care of them so they can in turn take care of the community,” said Garza, who works in Port Arthur. “If they need something, me and my team are right there on it. And I love that. I love taking care of the caregiver. I will do it as long as my body will let me do it.”