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Georgia Emergency Medical Services Association

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Meet the GEMSA Board Members

Executive Board

Chad Black

At Large Board Member

Chad has been in Fire and Emergency Services for the past 38 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/Fire Chief for Habersham County Emergency Services, where he oversees Fire, EMS,  Rescue and Community Paramedicine/M.I.H. for the county.  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 Vice-Chair for Interactive Neighborhood for Kids and board member for the North Georgia Community Foundation, both non-profit organizations.

Karen B. Grabenstein

Vice 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. 

Bengie Cowart

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, and a 2019 ASM graduate through Fitch and Associates. He is also a charter member of the Georgia EMS Leadership Alumni, and he earned the GEMSA EMS Directors Certification in 2020. Also, in 2020, Bengie successfully achieved CAAS accreditation for Chatham EMS. 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. 

Directors Division

Robby Hill
President - Directors Division

Robby has been serving the citizens of Georgia for over 30 years. He began his career at Metro Ambulance Service in Cobb County for two years before getting the opportunity to serve in Bartow County for 16 years. Robby served in many capacities for Bartow and upon leaving Bartow was at the rank of Lieutenant. Presently he serves as Assistant Director at Floyd Medical Center Emergency Medical Services in Rome, GA. His career began at Floyd in 2008 and since being at Floyd he has served on many internal committees to enhance patient care and instill the lost art of customer service within an emergency service. He is one of the developers and present manager of Floyd’s Community Paramedicine Program that services Floyd and Polk counties. In 2016, he was a Class 5 graduate from the GEMSA Leadership Program and has since participated within the program for each class afterward including hosting module 2 for Class 10 in 2021.  Robby is very proud to be awarded the opportunity to serve on the GEMSA Board.

Allen Owens
Vice President - Directors Division

Allen has worked in Fire and EMS for 27 years.  He began his career in Fire, at the Fitzgerald Fire Department in 1994.  His passion to serve drove him to begin his EMS career.  He currently is certified as a paramedic, swat medic, and farm medic.  Teaching and leadership began to come second nature to Allen, as he became an EMT instructor.  He is currently the Chief at Tift County Fire Rescue. In his spare time, he travels across the state teaching the farm medic class.  Allen is also one of the owners of Hope EMS. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Lechia.  They have two children, Allie Grace and Jon Luke.

Educators Division

Jeffrey Adams

Board Member
President - Educators Division

Jeff has worked in EMS for 24 years and has been teaching since 2008. He has worked in urban and rural settings, for private, hospital-based and fire-based services. He is currently the Business Services and Training Chief for Habersham County Emergency Services, a recently combined department incorporating Fire and EMS. He has been involved with GEMSA for the past 6 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.

Rebecca C. Hill, AS, PN.Paramedic

Board Member
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.

Medical Directors Division

Dr. N. Allen Stokes

President - Medical Directors Division

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.

Providers Division

Rafe Waters

Board Member
Vice President - Providers Division

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.

At-Large Board Members

Dee McCoy
Board Member

Dee began her career in the Emergency Department at John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville in 2008.  Her love for Emergency Medicine led her to further her career by joining the Flight Crew at Air Evac Lifeteam in Tift County in 2017 and obtaining her NREMT certification.  In March of 2020, she accepted the position of Base Clinical Lead, where she is responsible for training and education for all crew members at their base.  She is also a Georgia EMS Instructor.

Since Dee began flying, she has found an even deeper appreciation for Emergency Medical Services, leading her to become very involved with the Georgia EMS Association.  She has since become a lab manager for the Trauma Skills Labs, and assists with Axioms of Leadership classes.  She attends every class she possibly can and hopes to become even more involved.  She is currently a student in the GEMSA Leadership Program’s tenth class, which will be graduating this fall.

Dee was born and raised in Thomasville, and currently resides in Ochlocknee with her husband, Travis, and their two sons.  She is very honored and excited to join the GEMSA Board of Directors.

Sam Polk
Board Member

Sam Polk has been in Fire and EMS for over 30 years.  He began as a volunteer firefighter and first responder in his home county and became a Paramedic in 1994.  He currently is a Lieutenant with Henry County Fire Department where he has worked for the last 15 years and is an Adjunct Instructor for the department’s EMT/AMT and Paramedic programs.  In his career he has worked in several roles from Paramedic, Preceptor, Field Training Officer, Field Supervisor, Clinical Services Director, Clinical Education Manager and Adjunct Instructor.  Sam is a Georgia AEMT Instructor/Coordinator and holds instructor credentials in BLS, ACLS, PHTLS, and AMLS. He is also an instructor with the Georgia Trauma Skills Lab program.  Sam is an alumnus of the Georgia Leadership Program Class 6 and has previously served as an at-large member on the board of the Leadership Alumni Association.    Sam represents Henry County on the Region 4 EMS Advisory Council where he currently serves as the Secretary.  He also is the Region 4 Trauma Advisory Committee Chair and represents Region 4 on the Georgia Trauma Commission’s EMS Sub-Committee.  Sam believes in GEMSA’s mission and will try to contribute in any way he can.  

Jamarius Tate

Board Member

Jamarius is an eager public servant who has served in various communities as a full-time local firefighter and paramedic for the past nine years. He has had a passion for the job since age 15 where he started his career path as a junior cadet firefighter. The desire to grow and become more of an asset to the people extended past daily duties and became a willingness to instruct. Currently he is the EMS Training Coordinator for Columbia County Fire Rescue. He sits on the board for LAUNCH Augusta, which is a non-profit organization that exposes underprivileged kids to several job opportunities and skills in the healthcare realm. He is also an active instructor with all GEMSA sponsored trauma skills labs. His personal traits have evolved greatly from experiencing the Axioms of Leadership Program. As a graduate of Class 8 of the GEMSA Leadership Program, he strives to not only better himself, but any other individual he is able to influence. This is why he pursued a position on the GESMSA board. 


For inquiries about membership, event and exhibitor registrations, or publications, contact:
Mary Napier, Communications Specialist
229-231-2109 or

For inquiries about grants, trainings and other association programs, contact:
Cathy White, Program Coordinator
678-283-4542 or

For any and all questions, suggestions or concerns about GEMSA programs and association related matters, feel free to contact:
Kim Littleton, Executive Director
229-402-2240 or

The mission of the Georgia Emergency Medical Services Association is to advocate for the emergency medical provider, develop educational programs, liaison activities, provider benefit programs, and improvements to the Emergency Medical Service System in Georgia.

Georgia EMS Association  |  PO Box 772  |  Morganton, GA 30560  | Contact us

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