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Wisconsin Stars of Life Program

2015 Wisconsin Stars of Life Honorees

Photo Credit:  Logan Sechler of Sechler Photography, LLC

>> Click to download the 2015 Wisconsin Stars of Life program booklet, which includes information on each honoree.

Words of congratulations and thank you, smiles, handshakes, hugs, and so much more were abundant at this year's Wisconsin Stars of Life, which recognized twenty-six honorees nominated by their respective ambulance service or an organization.  The two-day event was held in Green Bay on September 23 and 24, 2015.

The celebration began at Lambeau Field with a Welcome Reception that was kicked off by VP of Marketing Gabrielle Dow, followed by a welcome message by Director of Sports Medicine Pepper Burruss, both of them with the Green Bay Packers.  Wisconsin Star of Life introductions came next that included personal stories and accolades by the Stars' respective employer, co-worker or family member, to include presentation of a commemorative Star of Life lapel pin for each.

The following day the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin Conference provided for the formal dinner and awards program, where each Star was formally introduced and inducted as a Wisconsin Star of Life honoree, and presented with a gold medallion and signed certificate of appreciation from Governor Scott Walker.

The program concluded with the announcement Fire and EMS Chief Deonne Eske with Ashippun Fire Department was chosen as Wisconsin's representative to attend the 2016 National Stars of Life awards program in Washington, D.C.  National Stars of Life is produced by the American Ambulance Association.  

During the past thirty-two years, Eske has been a volunteer EMT/firefighter, lieutenant, captain, and is currently chief at the department. In 2014, she attended 100% of fire and EMS meetings and over 90% of fire and rescue calls as a volunteer. In addition, Eske presents an annual fire safety program to the elderly, including calling 911 and how to prepare for the ambulance arriving.  Her department's nomination also included how she follows up on patients who were recently transported by the ambulance - even cleaning and changing bed sheets before they came back home.

2015 Wisconsin Stars of Life honorees included:

David Allen nominated by Amherst Fire District/Portage County EMS

Susan Armstrong-Schlegal nominated by Saukville Fire Department

Dr. Charles Cady nominated by the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin

Tyler Christifulli nominated by Lifestar Emergency Medical Services

Julie Dehne nominated by Valders Ambulance

Dan Diestler nominated by County Rescue Services

Marlene Dirkes nominated by Gold Cross Ambulance / Mayo Clinic Medical Transport

Clayton Emons nominated by Gold Cross Ambulance Fox Valley

Deonne Eske nominated by Ashippun Fire Department

Kelsey Esser nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

Kevin King nominated by Shawano Ambulance Service

Matthew Koepp nominated by Baraboo District Ambulance

Thomas Konieczka nominated by Greenfield Fire Department

Larry Krueger nominated by the Town of Sheboygan First Responders. 

Jon Masi nominated by Paratech Ambulance

Buck McAlpin nominated by the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin

Beth Morando nominated by Ryan Brothers Ambulance

James Poltrock nominated by Kenosha Fire Department

David Robbins nominated by Ryan Brothers Ambulance

Nick Romenesko nominated by Gold Cross Ambulance Fox Valley

Amy Smith-Hanson nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

Dr. Steven Stroman nominated by De Pere Fire Rescue

Rebecca Versey nominated by Orange Cross Ambulance

Christoph Walters nominated by Paratech Ambulance

Amy Zehr nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

Walt Zehr nominated by Tri-State Ambulance

Wisconsin Stars of Life honorees meeting in the Office of the Governor at the State Capitol with Governor Scott Walker, center, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.


State Capitol, Madison, Wisconsin

October 27, 2015

Relating to: congratulating the 2015 Stars of Life honorees.

Whereas, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals honorably serve to help countless Wisconsinites every year, oftentimes providing critical life−saving treatments and rescue operations in their communities; and

Whereas, emergency medical personnel regularly place their own safety at risk, often working in dangerous situations to help those in need of immediate care; and Whereas, the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) and the American Ambulance Association (AAA) are dedicated to advocating and promoting excellence in emergency medical care; and

Whereas, PAAW and AAA annually recognize as Stars of Life those EMS professionals who stand out among their peers for their exceptional achievements in emergency care and on September 24, 2015, honored 26 Stars of Life recipients at a ceremony held in Green Bay, Wisconsin; and

Whereas, Stars of Life honorees are selected for their outstanding service and personal qualities including: exceptional skills, selfless commitment, compassionate care, positive image, and leadership in the development of community partnerships or programs; and

Whereas, the 2015 Stars of Life honorees include those serving both rural and urban areas across Wisconsin and represent the exceptional care that EMS professionals provide residents of our state; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That the members of the Wisconsin legislature congratulate the 2015 Stars of Life honorees and commend those receiving this award for their achievements and continuing dedication in serving the residents of their community.

What it means to be a "Star"

"The stars of life award program was an awesome experience, from the pinning ceremony at Lambeau field to the awards banquet at the Tundra Lodge. Everyone who received this award was honored for their commitment and dedication to their community and was made to feel very special. I am truly humbled and honored to represent Wisconsin in Washington DC in April. Congratulations to all the stars of life honorees for the recognition of their service and commitment to the field of EMS."

Deonne Eske, Fire and EMS Chief, Ashippun Fire Dept., Ashippun, WI, and 2016 Wisconsin Representative to the National Stars of Life, Washington, D.C.

"The Star's of Life 2015 ceremony was truly an awesome experience! I was constantly surprised by how well it was put together and all the fantastic people I met!"

Tyler Christifulli, CCP, NRP, Assistant Training Coordinator, Lifestar Emergency Medical Services, West Bend, WI

"I am truly honored to have been a part of this amazing group."

Beth Morando, CCP, Ryan Brothers Ambulance, Madison, WI

"Thanks for an amazing experience and an incredible honor."

Matthew Koepp, CCP, Baraboo District Ambulance Service, Baraboo, WI

Fire and EMS Chief Deonne Eske attends 2016 National Stars of Life

The American Ambulance Association honored 103 Stars of Life from 90 communities in 29 states across the country for their selfless acts as EMS professionals. AAA President Mike Hall welcomed the stars and their guests to Washington, D.C., April 11 to 13, 2016 for a week of celebrations and meetings with key legislators.

Ashippun Fire and EMS Chief Deonne Eske was chosen by PAAW's National Stars of Life Selection Committee as Wisconsin's representative to attend the 2016 National Stars of Life awards program, and participate in the AAA event.  Chief Eske is pictured below with AAA President Mike Hall who presented her award.  Eske's trip to Washington, D.C. was financially underwritten by PAAW and the AAA Foundation.

Wisconsin Stars of Life Produced By

Affiliated with the National Stars Program

Stars of Life Sponsors

Gold Level

Silver Level

Bronze Level

In-kind Support

Green Bay Packers Organization

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