Flagler County Community Paramedic Caryn Prather on Friday was bestowed with the honor “Heroes Among Us” as a frontline worker by the American Red Cross of Central Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The award was presented for her work during the 2020 calendar year to develop a plan for a mass Covid-19 testing site, and later by continuing to individually test residents.
Red Cross Space Coast Chapter Executive Director Rebecca DeLorenzo said she was proud to recognize Prather and read from the nomination. She later presented her with a certificate and a medallion.
“It has been stated that we discover who we are during times of adversity,” said Flagler County Emergency Management Planner Nealon Joseph in his nomination. “For many people this is true, but for Caryn Prather adversity only strengthened what we already knew about her.”
From early April through July 2020, Prather led a team of 156 medical and non-medical volunteers in testing 4,465 residents at the Daytona State College Flagler-Palm Coast Campus with the assistance of the Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Management staff.
“By leading this site, Caryn afforded the Florida Department of Health office in Flagler County to focus on contact tracing,” Joseph said. “(This) directly contributed to the county’s ability to track and contain the spread of COVID-19.”
Prather continued to provide testing to residents through then newly developed Rapid Testing Kits.
“Caryn’s willingness to put herself at risk to prevent the spread of the virus reflects greatly upon herself and her desire to protect the health and welfare of Flagler County’s residents,” Joseph said.
It’s not the first time Prather has been recognized for her extraordinary efforts to ensure all residents in Flagler County have their health care needs met.
Flagler County’s Community Paramedicine program, of which Prather is the soul, earlier this week was honored with a National Association of Counties (NACo) 2021 Achievement Award in the category of Health to address the high call volume from recurring patients who did not need immediate medical attention – about 53% of ambulance calls and increasing.
Since its inception, Prather has made over 2,000 visits to 100 patients. This increase is not only because the elderly population in Flagler County is growing, but also because she has built relationships and trust within the community. Her patients know that she will go above and beyond to ensure that they receive the information, patient care, compassion and kindness needed to make their lives better and more meaningful.
In 2021, Prather and a small team of paramedics vaccinated 323 homebound residents for COVID-19.
Of the award Prather said, “Without my bosses and the people I work with, this wouldn’t be possible.”