Yosemite National Park Rescue Medic Heather Wonenberg, pictured on Helicopter 551 in El Capitan Meadow in Yosemite Valley, has been awarded the 2018 Outstanding Wildfire EMS Individual of the Year Award by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, based in Boise, Idaho. NPS photo

August 16, 2019 – The National Wildfire Coordinating Group in Boise, Idaho has awarded Yosemite National Park Helitack member Heather Wonenberg the 2018 Outstanding Wildfire EMS Individual of the Year Award. This award recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding work, actions, or programs in emergency medical service for our Nation’s Wildland Firefighters.

Over the course of the past eight years Heather has invested her personal time and motivation to advance her skills within the medical treatment arena. Heather has taken the initiative to implement the Yosemite Fire and Aviation Helicopter Emergency Medical Services program, training Yosemite National Park medical personnel on proper methods of patient care during helicopter operations, focusing on training modules and field-based scenarios.

Heather also acts as the Yosemite Fire Medical Coordinator. This responsibility allows Heather to maintain the accountability of the crew EMTs and ensure they are receiving quality training and assurance checks. Heather’s wealth of experience enables her to act as a subject matter expert and critical instructor for Yosemite National Park wildland firefighters and cooperating Yosemite National Park medical personnel. Operationally, Heather is a short-haul rescue medic and continually puts the care of others first. Heather has led calls in countless rescue missions that have saved the lives of many. Heather is a dedicated crew member and crew lead.

Yosemite National Park is pleased to recognize and honor Heather for her accomplishments, dedication to visitor and resource protection, and leadership within the EMS program as the Helitack Medical Coordinator and Yosemite Fire and Aviation Medical Services program lead.