Local first responders honored as ‘Stars of Life’ in Lansing ceremony

Published 6:00 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

LANSING — The life-saving work of two Southwest Michigan first responders was recognized Wednesday at the state capitol by the Michigan Association of Ambulance Services. 

Niles’ Martha Velez and Edwardsburg’s Olga Gomez – both with Southwest Michigan Community Ambulance Services – were honored as ‘Stars of Life’ during the biennial Stars of Life ceremony, which celebrates the contributions of ambulance practitioners who go above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession. The event honored 48 EMS practitioners across the state and was held on the steps of the Michigan Capitol building. 

“EMS practitioners play an essential role in keeping the communities they serve safe, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” said MAAS Executive Director Angela Madden. “Stars of Life is our favorite way to give thanks to the unsung EMS heroes who go above every day and beyond to provide life-saving care to Michigan residents.”

Velez joined the team at SMCAS 20 years ago. Her presence on our team elevates a culture of positivity and excellence. As an EMT, Shift Captain, and Supply Coordinator, she contributes well beyond the call of duty. Her courage and commitment to our mission drives her to demand quality from everyone, including her leadership team. We are grateful for the contributions she continues to make in our organization and our industry. 

Gomez began her career with SMCAS in 2013. She now serves as a Paramedic, Shift Captain and Supply Coordinator. Olga works tirelessly to ensure her team has everything they need, from supplies to leadership. Over the past four years as a paramedic, she has demonstrated a remarkable and unwavering work ethic. Her skill as a paramedic and her compassion as a human being make her an excellent example of a true Michigan Star of Life.

“Martha and Olga go above and beyond to keep our communities safe every day,” said Brian Scribner, executive director of SMCAS. “Their unwavering skills, passion and heart for their patients is unmatched and we are so proud of their achievements.”