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Afghanistan Veteran and EMS Specialists Honored by Cherokee Nation

A story about the Cherokee Nation honoring its EMS Department, with a special award for a veteran and paramedic just returned from Afghanistan.
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The Cherokee Nation’s Emergency Medical Services department was honored by the tribe with a luncheon and awards May 23 to celebrate National Emergency Medical Services Week. A special award also recognized a Cherokee Nation emergency services technician who just returned from serving in Afghanistan. 

“There’s no issue more important to me than the health care of our citizens, and our paramedic teams at the Cherokee Nation play a critical role in ensuring our citizens are properly cared for in emergency situations,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, the keynote speaker, said, according to a Nation press release. “I applaud all of you and say ‘Wado’ for your bravery and for the Cherokee Nation spirit you embody when you’re protecting our communities.”

Chief Baker presented EMT Paramedic Brian “Beau” Bayhylle with a plaque for his military and tribal service. Bayhylle returned from a yearlong tour in Afghanistan on May 15. He joined the Army National Guard in 1993 and has served two overseas deployments since 2010. His first deployment was to Iraq, where he served as sergeant over a special housing unit for high-value detainees. During his second deployment, in Afghanistan, he served as staff sergeant in charge of a motor pool and more than $7 million in equipment. He was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone. Bayhylle has worked for Cherokee Nation EMS since 1999.

“The Cherokee Nation has been great. I work with a bunch of good people,” said Bayhylle, of Tahlequah, in the release. “It’s more like a family environment here.” National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 19-25, brings together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine's "front line."

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At the celebration, Paramedic Brandon Squirrel, Advanced EMT Noah Teehee and EMT Vince Osburn were recognized for saving the life of Frankie Tyer, of Oaks, on April 17. The team was called to Tyer’s home and found her in cardiac arrest, but revived her on the ride to the hospital.

“They did an outstanding job. We really appreciate all the help and everything the paramedics did, and I just thank God she’s here today,” Frankie’s husband, Steve Tyer, said. “It’s because of these guys.”

Cherokee Nation EMS also recognized other outstanding service to the following:

Lori Wallace, administrative employee of the year
Dana Spaulding, instructor of the year
Kristi Moore, communications officer of the year
Michele Cole, medic of the year
Michael Rogers, overall employee of the year