Georgia Emergency Medical Services Association

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GEMSA Board of Director Candidates 2021

Please read the biographical information below about the candidates and why they want to be on the board or elected as a division vice president. You will get to vote for THREE at-large candidates and 1 president in your division.  See more voting instructions on the bottom of this page.

Voting closes on September 30, 2021, so vote today!  

If you have questions or problems logging in, contact Mary Napier, GEMSA Communications Specialist.

AT-LARGE CANDIDATES (in alphabetical order by last name)

John Athens, Gwinnett Technical College

I received my Georgia EMT certification in January 1979. During the next 5 years, I worked as an EMT with Couch’s Gwinnett Ambulance and Metro Ambulance and Atlanta South. In 1983 I completed Cardiac Tech School through Metro Ambulance Service.  In 1984 I attended a bridge program to upgrade from CT to Advanced EMT which became Paramedic and in 1985 received my license.  After paramedic training, I worked for Grady EMS and in 1987 was hired by Gwinnett County Fire Service. After 22.5 years I was able to retire from Gwinnett County. During my time with them, I continued my training and became a member of the Dive Team, Bicycle Medic Team, Field Training Specialist, Georgia Search and Rescue Team (GSAR), Explorer Post Advisor as well as Adjunct Fire Academy Instructor teaching NPQ 1 and 2 classes.  In 2015, I joined the staff of Gwinnett Technical College as an Adjunct Faculty and since 2018 have been a Lead Instructor for several EMT-B and AEMT classes. I have long been an advocate for our field. I very much enjoy teaching EMS and helping bring up the next generation of medics. I believe this Board vital for our success and would be honored to serve on it. 

Chad Black, Habersham County Emergency Services (incumbent)

I have 38 years in Fire, EMS, and Air Medical. I currently serve as Director/Fire Chief for Habersham County Emergency Services. In addition, 31.5 years with Hall County Fire, retiring in 2016 as Deputy Fire Chief, and 16 years in Air Medical, working as a flight medic, business manager, and governmental.  Over the past 3 ½ years I have had the honor to serve both as a board member and Chairman of GEMSA, being part of such a successful organization in providing EMS education, two annual conferences, and working with our State Legislature on EMS issues. Yet, we still have work to complete. So, I want to continue and be part, to see this work to a successful end.  GEMSA in 2020, with a pandemic, completed, at no cost, with Trauma Commission funding, almost 100,000 hours of EMS education to providers across this state. It was truly a fantastic accomplishment.  We continue to have a solid board, and while one person does not make the difference, I can be an integral part of a group that can make a difference.  I humbly ask for your vote again; if you feel the accomplishments and improvements over the past 6-7 years I have been a board member deserve another term. I would be grateful. 

Joe Cowart, Grady EMS

My 26-year career in EMS started at age 19 in 1995. My time in EMS has been utilized in multiple disciplines including many years in rural EMS, pediatrics specialty, ED Paramedic and air medical flight. In October 2017 I became an EMS Director which was a lifelong goal. My passion has always been to do my part in making EMS better in the state of Georgia. The position I hold currently gives me the opportunity to do just that but there is more to do as we all know. I would love to become a more active part with GEMSA because I feel that I have knowledge and experience to bring to the table. I would never halfheartedly enter this election with intentions of anything less than giving my best to represent all of my brothers and sisters in this field.  I have developed a well-rounded network of friends and colleagues in EMS and with state legislators. I feel that I would be an asset to us all across the profession.  

Herbert Denton, South Georgia Medical Center EMS

I currently serve as an Assistant Shift Supervisor (LT) with SGMC EMS. I have been an EMS provider and educator in South Georgia for 12 years. I am passionate about advancement of the EMS profession throughout the State and the Nation. I want to assist the EMS providers throughout our state with ensuring they have everything they need to be successful. The providers throughout this state give their time graciously to provide crucial medical care for the citizens they serve. Becoming a board member for GEMSA would be a great honor so that I may serve not only the citizens in this state but most importantly to serve the providers that give so much.

JD Gannon, Pooler Fire-Rescue

JD has a long history working with several EMS agencies. He came to Pooler in 2014 as a Firefighter. His experience, hard work and dedication quickly led to his promotion to Company Officer (Lieutenant). Once promoted, he began taking a larger role in the first responder program, teaching and bringing up our overall level of certification. He has increased our service level to the only State certified BLS response agency in the county with all line members being at least EMT. He is working toward our ALS level. His work and dedication led to the creation of our dedicated EMS Captain position to oversee our program and sit on the County EMS advisory Council.

Laverne Hardwick, Atlanta Fire Rescue

I have been in the EMS Industry in GA for 12 years. Prior to that I spent a few years as a Volunteer EMT in NY. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to serve in emergency, non emergency and hospital environments. I have earned an Associates (AAS) degree in Paramedicine and an Undergraduate (BS) degree in management. I currently serve as Program Director for the Atlanta Fire Rescue. My goal in seeking this opportunity is to promote diversity, and to help effect change in the EMS Community. We are in a boundary less world and are all interconnected as human beings. 

Jason D. Hurst, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College & Coffee Regional Medical Center

Hello, I began my career in EMS 2012. Through my tenure I have filled positions in Jeff Davis, Ware, Coffee, Clinch, and Bacon counties. The counties I served in have been a mixture of county, private, and hospital-based services. I stepped down as a FTO/LT from Coffee Regional in 2019 to peruse a passion in teaching with the Wiregrass. I have had the pleasure of attending multiple classes with GEMSA including axiom of leadership and will be finishing up the leadership program in November. At the same time, I will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Columbia Southern in emergency service management. Thank you for your consideration.


Reg P James III, Amerimed Medical Solutions, LLC

Reg James has over 38 years of experience in EMS in both public and private service organizations.  He has direct experience in just about all aspects of EMS culminating in his current role as the President of Amerimed Medical Solutions, the parent company of Amerimed Mobile Integrated Healthcare and Emergency Medical Services.  He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of Georgia’s Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (EMSAC) where he is an active participant in standing and ad hoc committees and projects addressing important topics including Legislative and Zoning initiatives, Regional Council Bylaws standardization and enhancement, and most recently leads the team that produced the state’s first forward looking Strategic Plan for EMS in Georgia.  Reg also serves as the Chairman of Board for the newly formed National Association of Mobile Integrated Healthcare Providers.  Drawing on his extensive experience in the emergency services industry, Reg is also an active Council Member of the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) that provides consultation services connecting clients with subject matter experts around the world. 

Dee McCoy, Air Evac Lifeteam (incumbent)

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 the 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 holds multiple instructor certifications through AHA and NAEMT and enjoys teaching and outreach education.  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 currently an At-Large Board Member of the GEMSA Board of Directors and hopes for the opportunity to continue to grow and learn with this great organization. 

Charles McFall, Trinity/LifeCare EMS

I started my career in EMS in 1996 as an EMT-I, progressed through Paramedic, and now serve as COO for both Trinity and LifeCare EMS. All throughout my career, I have sought to use my voice to educate everywhere that I can, identify problems, and attempt to bring people together to find solutions. My passion for this has been most evident with my work on the podcast EMS Underground. I want to serve on the board of GEMSA to bring my way of thinking and unity to help pave the way to the new EMS.


Allen Owens, Jr., Tift County Fire Rescue/Hope EMS (incumbent)

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.


Jack Paulson, South Georgia Medical Center

My EMS career started before I graduated from high school, volunteering with my local fire department. Since that time I have worked for several county, private and hospital based services across South Georgia and North Florida. I have also flown with a large private HEMS service across several states. I currently operate in EMS leadership for rural South Georgia and serve as Parliamentarian for the Region 8 advisory council. I have seen many ways that our industry can be improved and would love to be in a position to help with that advancement


Sam Polk, Henry County Fire Department

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.  

Marty Robinson, Redmond EMS

I have been In public safety since 1985 when I began as my career as a firefighter and became a First Responder. I became an EMT in 1991 and a Paramedic in 1993. I moved from fire in 1995 to EMS where I have been ever since. I have been the Director of Redmond Ems since 2016. I also serve as Vice Chair of the Region 1 Ems Advisory Council and serve on the State Subcommittee on Trauma. Ems as a profession is in crisis. Workforce, employee compensation, reimbursement, education and equipment are all topics of discussion in all Ems circles and forums. It is critical that the correct decisions be made and directions be followed for the survival of this profession. I would like to bring my experience, background and desire to see Ems succeed as a profession to the table of this influential organization. Thanks for your consideration.

Robert Rosamond, Stephens County EMS

I currently serve as an EMT with Stephens County EMS in Toccoa. I also serve as a Volunteer Firefighter and Coordinator of the Stephens County First Responder program. I have been an active EMS provider since 2013. I have been an EMS Instructor since 2018. I would like the opportunity to serve as a Board Member to have the chance to promote positive changes in both the field and EMS education. I look forward to having the opportunity to serve as a voice for my fellow EMS providers.

Rich Rutherford, Jackson Emergency Services

I started as an EMT in 1996 and began working PRN with Jackson County EMS. I attended North GA Tech in 1998 and obtained my EMTP in 1999. I began working for Banks County Fire/EMS from November 1999-January 2001 where I was promoted to Lt prior to leaving. I was hired as a fulltime paramedic with Jackson County EMS January 2001 have worked there since. In August 2020 I was promoted to Jackson County EMS Training and PR Officer.  I have served with the US Navy Reserves since Jan. 2001 and am currently a Petty Officer  1st Class(E6). I hold awards from 3 separate branches of the military and serve on the Greenville, SC Funeral and Honors Team.  I believe my leadership skills and my enthusiasm as well as my love for the EMS career can be an asset to the GEMSA Board.

Jamarius Tate, Columbia County Fire Rescue

I am an outspoken, eager public servant who has served in various communities as a full-time local firefighter and paramedic for the past nine years. I have had a passion for the job since age 15 where I started my 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 I am the EMS Training Coordinator for Columbia County Fire Rescue. I sit 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. I am also an active instructor with all GEMSA sponsored trauma skills labs. My personal traits have evolved greatly from experiencing the Axioms of Leadership Program. As a graduate of Class 8 of the GEMSA Leadership Program, I strive to not only better myself but any other individual I am able to influence. This is why I am pursuing the position of At-Large Board Member. I promise to support GEMSA’s mission to provide quality education and a voice for all healthcare providers across the state of Georgia.

Heath Williams, Barrow County Emergency Services

I am currently serving as the Deputy Chief of Barrow County Emergency Services and also serve as the department’s EMS Director. I began my career in 1994 as an EMT, earned my Paramedic License in 1996 and worked both 911 and private ambulance transport until 2014 when I was promoted to the EMS Operations Officer at Barrow County. I attended the 2016 (Class 5) GEMSA EMS Leadership and Management Course, during which time I made lasting friendships with EMS Leaders from across the State. In 2019 I was promoted to Deputy Chief at Barrow County and also assumed the duties of EMS Director. In 2021 I earned the Emergency Medical Service Director Certification through the GEMSA EMS Leadership Alumni Association. I am active with GEMSA and the Leadership Alumni. I have a passion for EMS in the State of Georgia and would love the opportunity to serve on the GEMSA Board as we all move EMS in Georgia into the future.

Directors Division - Vice President Candidates

Joe Cowart, Grady EMS

My 26-year career in EMS started at age 19 in 1995. My time in EMS has been utilized in multiple disciplines including many years in rural EMS, pediatrics specialty, ED Paramedic and air medical flight. In October 2017 I became an EMS Director which was a lifelong goal. My passion has always been to do my part in making EMS better in the state of Georgia. The position I hold currently gives me the opportunity to do just that but there is more to do as we all know. I would love to become a more active part with GEMSA because I feel that I have knowledge and experience to bring to the table. I would never halfheartedly enter this election with intentions of anything less than giving my best to represent all of my brothers and sisters in this field.  I have developed a well-rounded network of friends and colleagues in EMS and with state legislators. I feel that I would be an asset to us all across the profession.  

Bob Graham, Patriot EMS

I've been active in EMS my entire adult life, serving our communities throughout the greater Atlanta area in both 911 and non-emergency capacities.  I believe that in order to secure the best future for our field, EMS must come first, EMS must have a voice for our providers, agencies and communities.

Bucky Searcy, Harris County EMS

Bucky has taken Harris County EMS to the next level as far as equipment and training, but has also been the driving force for future leadership in the future. Bucky has also ensured that all current and future leaders attend the EMS leadership class through GEMSA. He serves on several committees to help advance the future of EMS.

Allen Owens, Jr., Tift County Fire Rescue/Hope EMS

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 - Vice President Candidates

Becky Hill, Newton County Fire Service, EMS Coordinator (incumbent)

45 years in this business. If it taught me anything, it is to do what's best for the masses.  If we all work together for the betterment of EMS, we can get it done!  I feel that GEMSA has been doing that and doing it well. As my years draw toward retirement, I want to leave this business better than I found it.   I am a Paramedic/Nurse, AS in Emergency Medicine and have taught all of the ABC classes and EMT/AEMT/PARAMEDIC all of the stuff that we all need. I want to help the educators with this new system of education we have experienced in the last year. Reelect me to your BOD and VP of Educators and I will do my best to help you be successful. 

Chris Page, Ogeechee Technical College

I began my career in public safety in 2005 as a volunteer firefighter for the Swainsboro Fire Department. I moved to Statesboro, Ga in 2006 and continued to volunteer for the Bulloch County Fire Department while obtaining my EMT and paramedic licenses. In early 2019, I became the Program Director of Paramedicine Technology at Ogeechee Technical College. Educating EMTs and paramedics have become a passion of mine. I enjoy teaching and growing our profession so that we stay up to date on current Practices to produce the best paramedics and EMTs. I currently teach BLS, ACLS, PALS, PHTLS, and AMLS along with my paramedic classes. I promote our EMS profession in every class I teach to enhance the communities that we serve. GEMSA has progressed tremendously over the last decade and I want to continue that progression. I want to make sure we continue funding trauma courses that are free to providers with assistance from the Georgia Trauma Commission. I want to make sure that we continue to secure funding for grant-approved EMT classes in our communities. Lastly, I want to promote our organization to increase membership to leverage the association better for a state EMS pension fund.

Jamarius Tate, Columbia County Fire Rescue

I am an outspoken, eager public servant who has served in various communities as a full-time local firefighter and paramedic for the past nine years. I have had a passion for the job since age 15 where I started my 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 I am the EMS Training Coordinator for Columbia County Fire Rescue. I sit 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. I am also an active instructor with all GEMSA sponsored trauma skills labs. My personal traits have evolved greatly from experiencing the Axioms of Leadership Program. As a graduate of Class 8 of the GEMSA Leadership Program, I strive to not only better myself but any other individual I am able to influence. This is why I am pursuing the position of At-Large Board Member. I promise to support GEMSA’s mission to provide quality education and a voice for all healthcare providers across the state of Georgia.

Joshua Warren, Atlanta Fire Rescue Training Division

My goal is to leave EMS of GA and my department better than I found it. I believe by having a voice on the GEMSA board I can implement progressive change by listening to the voices of the providers and educators around me and that by doing that I can give them a voice as well. I want to see the state of GA become one of the most proactive and innovative EMS systems in the country. I know this can be done by implementation of the most up to date evidence based medical practices. I currently work for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department as the Lead Paramedic Instructor and Fortis College as a Paramedic Instructor. I have worked for Grady EMS in Atlanta and I worked rural EMS in South GA for the first few years of my career before moving to Atlanta in 2015. I believe my broad ranging experience could be an asset to the citizens and providers of GA.       Joshua F. Warren  NRP, CCP-C, FP-C, CADS     

Thomas Woodruff, Faithful Guardian Training Center

Thomas retired from the Douglas County Fire Department as a Fire Officer and Critical Care Paramedic after 30 years serving the community. His background includes management positions in private sector EMS for 13 years. He has been in training/educator positions throughout his career as well as EMS operations, service delivery, CQI, and human resources.  He is the founder and Executive Director of Faithful Guardian Training Center, where they provide initial and continuing education for EMTs, Paramedics, Firefighters, and law enforcement. He works to create a value-added vision to every project with a focus on program advancement, curriculum development, workforce recruitment, and generational learning within a “student-centered” educational environment.  Thomas has worked hard to create statewide satellite locations to help with the paramedic education shortage in Georgia. He is an active member of the Georgia EMS Association, a soon-to-be graduate of the GEMSA EMS Leadership course, and truly believes in the future of EMS education in Georgia.  After seeing our industry grow and change over the last 30 years, Thomas believes that the individual practitioner “in the moment” that makes the difference, every minute, every day, and on every call. Our duty as leaders and educators of our industry is to support, develop, cultivate, and protect the individual practitioner. By bringing awareness to human issues in EMS, we are better stewards of our industry and the souls that serve in the field.  

Providers Division - Vice President Candidate

Jed Jarrett, Allentown Fire Department

38 year old member who started career in Blakely, Ga. ASEMS, Masters of Science in Nursing, currently Doctoral candidate at Georgia State. (Spring 2022). Member of Allentown Fire Rescue and Danville Fire Rescue. EMS is near and dear to my heart and will always be my home. EMS professionals deserve hardworking and compassionate representation to help progress their agenda in the movement to further advance their profession.



Rafe Waters (incumbent), AEL 091 Vidalia, GA

I began my EMS career in 1999. I am a Nationally Registered Paramedic, an Instructor/Coordinator (Paramedic), and a Registered Nurse. I served as the Director of EMS Programs at Swainsboro Technical College and Director of Tattnall EMS. In 2014, I began work as a Flight Paramedic with Air Evac, later I was promoted to Program Director. I am currently the Senior Program Director for the northern air bases in Georgia. I am a graduate of Southeastern Tech, Ogeechee Tech, and have degrees from Albany State College, and the University of West Georgia. I am a MBA candidate, graduating in December 2021. I am a 2013 GEMSA Leadership Course graduate. In addition to servings as GEMSA Provider’s VP, I currently serve as Chairperson for the GA EMS Leadership Alumni. I was integral in the development Cadaver Labs and inclusion of the Axioms of Leadership courses provided by GEMSA. I have a great passion for improving EMS in Georgia. I will work to bring new ideas and opportunities to our EMS providers and strengthen our profession. I appreciate your support.

Medical Directors Division - Vice President Candidate

no nominations

How to vote:

1) Read the biographical information above about the candidates and why they want to be on the board or elected as a division vice president. You will get to vote for three at-large candidates and 1 vice president in your division. 

2) Take a few seconds to vote using our electronic ballot by selecting your membership division ballot below. 
Note: Members must login to vote since you must be a verified GEMSA Member for your vote to be counted!

If you have never logged in, you can activate your account by clicking on the login button at the very top right corner of this website. On the login screen, click the "forgot password" link.

Enter the e-mail address we have on file, and it will provide you with directions via e-mail about setting your password. Then come back and login to gain access to your ballot, profile information, events, and your membership information. If you have trouble, contact Mary Napier, GEMSA Communications Specialist.

Voting is open from September 1-30, 2021.

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.

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