Dare paramedic Joshua McKenney receives prestigious state EMT award

Pictured from left to right: VFW Service Officer Barry Holt, VFW Member Kelli Harmon, VFW Advisory Council Member Ellen Aidock, VFW Member Jack McCombs, Outer Banks VFW Post 10950 Senior Vice Commander Richard Probst, Dare County EMS Director Jennie Collins, VFW Post Quartermaster Jim Norrell, Dare County EMS Lieutenant Joshua McKenney. [photo courtesy Dare County]

Dare County EMS Paramedic Joshua McKenney—who was recently awarded the prestigious North Carolina Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Public Servant Citation—was recognized by local Outer Banks VFW Post 10950 before the Dare County Board of Commissioners on Monday, July 19, 2021.

Each year, the Department of North Carolina VFW selects individuals from three separate categories to receive the Public Servant Citation Awards: EMTs, law enforcement officials and firefighting personnel. Those who are eligible include any individual who actively provides emergency medical treatment, rescue services or civil disaster assistance as a member of any public or volunteer company that is organized to provide such services.

Dare County EMS Director Jennie Collins nominated McKenney for the award, for which he was selected and recognized by Outer Banks VFW Post 10950. McKenney’s nomination was then forwarded on to the Department of North Carolina VFW competition, and he was also selected as the North Carolina EMT Public Servant Citation Award winner.

According to Collins’ nomination letter, “In the years that Joshua has been with Dare County, he has excelled in every aspect possible for a paramedic. It is indisputable that his love for people is what drives him in his passion to serve. Joshua’s heartfelt desire is to provide the best possible patient care in both medicine and caring. His benevolence is one of his many qualities that our community benefits from.”

McKenney began his public service career in 2003 for the Town of Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue team, where he served as a lifeguard for three summers. He also worked as a lifeguard for the Town of Nags Head Ocean Rescue for the summers of 2008-2011.

McKenney was originally hired with Dare County EMS as an advanced EMT in 2005 and quickly attained his paramedic credential five years later, in 2010.

In 2012, McKenney moved overseas to serve as a missionary in India and is fluent in Hindi. After completing his mission work in India, he returned to Dare County EMS in 2016 as a paramedic.

In 2017, McKenney applied for the highly competitive flight paramedic position on Dare MedFlight, and he was successfully appointed to the position. In 2018, McKenney committed to the extensive amount of studying, time and training that is required in order to obtain his flight paramedic certification.

McKenney has also continually advanced himself through both professional and personal education, and he currently holds two degrees. The first is a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies and Teaching English as a Second Language, which he earned at Liberty University. The second is a Master of Arts: Religion in Church Ministries from Liberty Theological Seminary. McKenney earned his degrees while working and also serving as a husband to his wife, Bethany, and a father to the couple’s five children.

“In addition to his many attributes, McKenney has a passion for teaching,” according to Collins’ nomination form. “Teaching EMS providers—from the newest student attempting to gain a foothold in the industry to the most tenured provider—takes the utmost patience, strength, commitment, encouragement, supportiveness and wisdom to provide quality outcomes. These qualities are consistently demonstrated by Joshua and have resulted in catapulting him to a place of admiration among his students and peers.”

In addition to his work with Dare County EMS, McKenney is also a North Carolina Office of EMS Level 1 Instructor and an adjunct instructor at the College of the Albemarle, where he teaches new EMTs, Advanced EMTs and paramedics.

“Joshua is a knowledgeable and natural educator, where his teaching style provokes excitement and energy into his students that translates into compassionate, strong caregivers,” Collins wrote in her nomination form. “His innate ability to teach in this profession creates a bond between his peers that grows even deeper with time. Joshua is a devoted public servant, as evidenced by his years of public service and with his commitment to teaching others. He is a mentor that his coworkers turn to for direction and advice, long after the formal education process is complete. Joshua is a loyal, accomplished and selfless public servant. The qualities detailed in this nomination capture only just the highlights of his superior character and love for his community.”

In addition to being declared the winner for the state of North Carolina, McKenney’s nomination has also been advanced for consideration on the national level, and he is now a candidate for the VFW National EMT of the Year Award, which will be presented at the 122nd VFW National Convention that is scheduled to be held in Kansas City, Missouri, in August.

McKenney joins Dare County’s past VFW EMT Public Servant Citation Award winners, which were paramedic Darren Hager, paramedic Ashley Johnson and Advanced EMT Bill Laricos, who was also selected as Dare County EMT of the Year and North Carolina State EMT of the Year in 2018.

For more information about the North Carolina EMT Public Servant Citation Award, visit www.VFWNC.com. For more information about Dare County EMS, visit www.DareNC.com/EMS.