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Founder of National EMS honored posthumously

The late Pat Atkins was given the Dedicated Service Award by the Northeast Georgia EMS Council for his four decades of service to the Emergency Services System in Georgia. (Special Photo)

The late Pat Atkins was given the Dedicated Service Award by the Northeast Georgia EMS Council for his four decades of service to the Emergency Services System in Georgia. (Special Photo)

The Northeast Georgia EMS Council recently honored the late Pat Atkins, former EMT and founder of National EMS, with the presentation of a Dedicated Service Award for his four decades of service to the Emergency Services System in Georgia.

The annual recognition was presented posthumously by Jim Dove, chair of the Northeast Georgia EMS Council, during the 23rd Annual Region 10 EMS Awards Banquet, held at the Oconee Civic Center in Watkinsville.

Pat Atkins, who, with his wife Mary Ellen, founded National EMS, began his EMS career with Cobb County Fire in 1969. During the early 1970’s, he worked with the Georgia Office of EMS as a state-wide instructor of vehicle extrication courses, and later served as the director of an ambulance service with Kennesaw Chapel, prior to beginning National EMS in 1976.

National EMS originally operated in Kennesaw, but relocated to Rockdale County in 1983 to serve as the 911 provider. Five years later, National EMS expanded into Morgan County, and in 2009, contracted with both Athens Regional Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital to become the 911 provider for the Athens-Clarke/Oconee County area.

National EMS, which has operated for more than 38 years, is one of only eight EMS Providers in the U.S who have consistently maintained accreditation for more than 20 years.

In 1998, Atkins was recognized by Georgia Gov. Zell Miller as the first recipient of the Governor’s Public Safety Award for his numerous contributions to the EMS profession. Atkins and his wife also received the Georgia EMS Pioneer Award in 2002. Pat Akins died suddenly in 2006.

Receiving the Dedicated Service Award in Pat Atkins’ memory were his widow, Mary Ellen Atkins, his daughter Joy Peppers, and his two sons, Benny and Robby Atkins. Over 250 EMS Personnel and their families attended the annual awards banquet on April 30, which honors all EMS Personnel in the 10-county service area and recognizes them for their achievements.