Meet the GEMSA Board Members
At Large Board Member
Chad has been in Fire and Emergency Services for the past 36 years, including 17 years in Air Medical Transport Services. Chad retired in June 2016 as Deputy Fire Chief for Hall County Fire Services after 31 plus years of service. Chad now serves as the Director for Habersham County Emergency Services, where he over sees Fire, EMS and Rescue Operations for the county. Chad worked both part and full time for 17 years with Air Methods Corporation, where he worked as a Critical Care Flight Paramedic, Georgia Business Manager, S.E. Regional Business Manager (GA, FL, SC, NC, AL) and in 2013 and 2014, as a consultant performing work in Corporate Business and Governmental Affairs across the country.
Chad is a Licensed National Registry Paramedic and holds instructor certificates in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Basis Life Support, International Trauma Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Paramedic Preceptor. Chad also is a certified Hazardous Materials Technician and past Chief of the Hall County Fire Services Hazardous Materials Team. Chad holds over 17,000 training hours in both Fire and EMS (Ground/Air) related topics including Rope Rescue, Hazardous Materials, Incident Command, Emergency Operations Center Management and Rescue Systems to name a few.
Chad currently serves as Chairman for the Georgia EMS Association, Chairman for the EMS Region II Regional Trauma Advisory Committee as mandated by Senate Bill 60 that established the Georgia Trauma Commission. In June 2010, Chad was appointed to the EMS Sub-Committee of the Georgia Trauma Commission for EMS Region II and serves on the Region II EMS Council. In 2019, Lt. Governor Jeff Duncan appointed Chad to the Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council. Chad also serves as Co-Chairman and Board Member for the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, North Georgia Community Foundation and serves on the Advisory Boards for the EMT and Paramedic Programs for Lanier Technical and North Georgia Technical Colleges. He is a past member of the Georgia Statewide Trauma Action Team, Statewide EMS and Trauma System Development Committee, Georgia Air Medical Committee, Georgia Emergency Medical Services Information Systems Committee and Advisor to the Fire Science Program at Lanier College in Oakwood, Ga.
Karen B. GrabensteinVice Chair
At Large Board Member
Karen has been in EMS since 1993 and has worked both ground and air services. Having served on the board for the last eight years and currently as an At Large board member, Karen remains active in EMS in various capacities. Karen currently works as the Director of Clinical Outreach for Community Hospital Systems. Karen is a graduate of the 2013 Georgia Association of EMS Leadership Course. She is also a charter member of the Georgia EMS Leadership Alumni and the first female to have earned the GEMSA EMS Directors Certification. She remains active in the EMS community by serving on EMSAC, Region 9 EMS Council, and GA EMS Leadership Alumni Board. She began her career in EMS as a First Responder in 1993 and has held many positions in EMS throughout the years. She also serves as a professor at Columbia Southern University in the EMSA program. She and her husband Fred, live in Brooklet, Ga. with their son, Kaide.
President - Providers Division
Bengie has been involved in Emergency Services for the last 33 years as an EMT/paramedic and has his Firefighter I and II. He currently serves as EMS Chief at Chatham EMS and continues to work part-time with the City of Guyton as a firefighter. Bengie has served as chairman of the EMSC for several years and remains a member of the council as well as the Chatham County EMS Advisory Council. Bengie is a graduate of the 2012 Georgia EMS Association Leadership Course. He is also a charter member of the Georgia EMS Leadership Alumni, and he earned the GEMSA EMS Directors Certification in 2020. Bengie is a member of Countryside Baptist Church where he serves as team leader of their Safety team. Bengie currently lives in Guyton, Ga with his wife Toni and daughter Makayla.
Craig has been employed with Coweta County Fire Rescue for 17 years and currently serve as a District Chief. The service provides 24 hour Fire/EMS coverage where they transport about 10,000 patients a year. He also works part-time for AirMethods as a flight paramedic. These great experiences as well as working previously at private EMS agencies have made him very well rounded. Some major accomplishments throughout his career include becoming a father of three kids and being blessed with a wonderful wife. He also writes and maintains the protocols their personnel use at Coweta Fire. Currently he heads up projects that include ISO review, equipment purchasing, and CQI. He has been a practicing paramedic for the last 12 years. He is also a certified critical care paramedic (CCP-C) and flight paramedic (FP-C). He is an instructor in all AHA disciplines, PHTLS, and Fire Instructor. In 2017, he completed the GEMSA leadership course.
President - Educators Division
Jeff has worked in EMS for 24 years and has been teaching for the last 10 years. He has worked in urban and rural settings, for private, hospital-based and fire-based services. He is currently the Training Officer for Habersham County Emergency Services, a recently combined department incorporating Fire and EMS. He has been involved with GEMSA for the past 3 years and was a member of the 6th Leadership Class. He believes strongly in education, no matter what the age of the student. As the EMS industry continues to grow and move forward, he believes expanding our educational horizons and opportunities will play an extremely strong role in the product we deliver.
Vice President - Educators Division
“Becky” started her career as an Emergency Room Clerk at Newton General Hospital in Covington, GA in 1973. She decided that she needed more training and enrolled in the EMT program at DeKalb Tech in 1976. Becky had found her calling as she loved the excitement and enrolled in the Paramedic course at DeKalb Tech. She was only one of two females in the class.
After graduation from paramedic class in 1977, Becky was hired by Athens General Hospital EMS. She was the first female and paramedic who was hired by that service. After several years, she worked her way back to the Covington/Conyers area and worked for Newton General EMS and Rockdale EMS.
Becky worked at Rockdale Hospital for 5 years as an LPN, then left to work for a private physician. She still missed working EMS and went back to work for National EMS. In 1986, she started working for one of the largest EMS services in Georgia, DeKalb EMS. While working there, she spent 2 years in training, but still missed the street. She went back to working the streets of DeKalb County. She had been teaching for DeKalb Tech part-time since 1986 and was still doing that while working EMS full-time. A full-time teaching position came open and she was hired by her mentor Marian Wilderboar.
Becky continued to work at DeKalb Tech/GPTC until April 2018 when she retired with 30 years of service. She was recruited by Newton Fire Service and is working as their EMS Coordinator. Becky is the past President of the Georgia EMS Association Educators and sits on the BOD for GEMSA. She is past Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation and was very involved in their camp that helps injured children. She was the 2004 Instructor of the Year for Region 3 EMS. She holds an Associate Degree in Emergency Medicine from Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell NM. Becky is working on other educational endeavors and enjoys walking, music, and reading.
Dr. Stokes has been involved in EMS in the State of Georgia since 1996. He is currently a nationally registered paramedic, board-certified emergency physician, and is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Stokes is the EMS medical director for several EMS agencies in Georgia, including Navicent Health EMS, Air Evac Lifeteam (Georgia), and Monroe County Emergency Services. He is an at-large member of the Region 5 EMS Council, is a practicing emergency physician at Navicent health, and is the emergency department trauma liaison for the Navicent Health Trauma Service. Dr. Stokes advocates for the advancement of prehospital care in all areas and is proud to serve as the president of the medical director’s division of GEMSA. Dr. Stokes lives in Macon with his wife, Debbie, and is a proud father of four children.
Rafe Waters began his EMS career in 1999. He is a Level III EMS instructor, and served as the Director of EMS Programs at Swainsboro Technical Collegeand Director of Tattnall EMS. In 2014, he began work as a Flight Paramedic with Air Evac Lifeteam 95 Statesboro, later he was promoted to Director for Air Evac Lifeteam 91 Vidalia. He is the Senior Program Director for the northern air bases in Georgia.
Rafe is a graduate of Southeastern Tech, Ogeechee Tech, and has degrees from Albany State College, and the University of West Georgia. In addition to his EMS background he is also a Registered Nurse. He is also a graduate of the 2013 GEMSA Leadership Course. Rafe currently serves as Chairperson for the GA EMS Leadership Alumni.
Rafe currently lives in Statesboro, and he is married to Dana. They have one daughter Delaney.
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