Dean Rush has been named the 2019 Star of Life for LifeNet EMS in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
While Dean holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Management from the University of Arkansas and an impressive track record from his first career in sales and marketing, it is his paramedic certificate that he earned later in life from the University of Iowa and the career that followed that has allowed him to positively impact multiple communities across the nation.
Dean started his path to an EMS career as a volunteer EMT with Humboldt Ambulance Service in 1998, shortly after his family relocated to Humboldt, Iowa as part of his job as a marketing specialist for the textile industry.
“The ambulance company grabbed me and asked if I had ever thought about getting in the medical field. They gave me this pager and told me to drive to the hospital if it went off. About 15 minutes later, it went off. There was a snowmobile wreck directly across the street from the hospital. Two 16 year old kids were driving through town, and one jumped off and the other hit a tree at 60 mph with no helmet. I was sitting there holding this kids eyeball in my hand with gloves on. I was holding his head. A helicopter came in. It was chaotic. I was like this is kind of cool. This is the stuff you see on TV,” Dean said about the first call he made in EMS. That call would inspire him to work towards his paramedic certificate.
In 2001, Dean was named the National Marketing Representative of the year at his full-time job. On the morning of September 11th, his family was getting ready to fly to San Diego to accept the award when they learned all flights had been stopped and the reason why. That day really inspired Dean to think about his career.
A few months later, Dean was offered a job working full-time as a paramedic at Trinity Regional Hospital in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He left his corporate career behind and decided to work full-time in an industry where he could truly make a difference daily in the lives of others.
In 2012, Dean became a flight medic for LifeNet of the Heartlands, a division of AirMethods. While working there, he also taught as an adjunct professor at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa. That same year he received the Hero of the Heartland Award.
When his three children were out of the house, Dean and his wife, Brenda, decided to leave the snow of Iowa behind and head south. Dean became a street paramedic for the City of New Orleans.
A few years later, the duo, who had met while they were both students at the University of Arkansas, decided to relocate to Arkansas to be closer to their kids who had all decided to attend their alma matter. As part of the move, Dean joined LifeNet EMS in 2016.
A certified critical care paramedic, Dean currently serves as a Field Training Officer and a fill-in Operations Manager for LifeNet’s Hot Springs Division. Additionally, he is an instructor in the paramedic program at National Park College.
“I’ve spent my entire career trying to be the best paramedic I can while also sharing the knowledge and experience that I have. It doesn’t do any good for me if I don’t share what I have and challenge other people,” Dean said.
That attitude is precisely why Dean was nominated by his peers at LifeNet EMS to represent them as the 2019 Star of Life.
“What best describes Dean is his constant positive attitude. He is full of knowledge and loves to share any information when you ask him a question. His work ethic and professionalism are both exceptional and impressive. He goes above and beyond the call of duty to help his patients and his co-workers. His patient care is very proficient, and his bedside manner is phenomenal. Dean’s focus to teach never stops, and his knowledge is fascinating. Dean is an open book and is always willing to help provide insight to questions,” wrote a colleague in his nomination letter.
After receiving the nomination, Dean was then selected for the award by former Stars of Life and the management team at LifeNet.
“What matters to me is my peers. The thought that a peer took the time to fill out all this stuff, that shows me that I’m doing something that my peers think is helpful,” Dean said as he described what being named LifeNet’s 2019 Star of Life in the Hot Springs Division meant to him.