PAINTED POST - Stephen P. Copp Sr., an active paramedic, supervisor and Emergency Medical Services Instructor in the area for more than 50 years, was named First Responder of the Year Wednesday at the Tri-County First Responders Honor Park.
The event was held 18-years after hijacked planes crashed into both World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and into a field in Somerset County, Pa., Sept. 11, 2001.
“It has been my privilege for the past 50 plus years to work in the advancement of EMS,” Copp said moments after receiving the award at the Fifth-Annual Honor & Remembrance Ceremony. “I wish to thank everyone for this award. A lot of people here say I taught them EMS courses, but that has been a long time ago. Thank you all and good luck to you all.”
Ahmed Mustafa, a former EMS course student of Copp and current a paramedic of the North East Quadrant Advanced Life Support Inc., in Webster, said Copp is responsible for many of the EMS programs that continue today.
“What Steve did so well is he took people who wanted to help others and showed us just how to do that,” Mustafa said. “He taught us how to assess patients, how to splint broken bones, administer medications, and pump for a heart that wasn’t beating anymore. We learned to think on our feet, adapt to situations that no one could ever imagine and fight until we had exhausted every possibility, and then fight a little more.”
Copp was also honored at the event by State Senator Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, Alison Hunt, District Director for U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Erwin Deputy Supervisor Doug Cole and former Corning City Mayor Al Lewis.
“I have worked with Steve for over 50 years in many different capacities and I can confirm he has dedicated his life to saving lives of others throughout the Southern Tier,” said Lewis as he introduced Copp to receive the award. “He has done so much.”
Ernie Danforth, co-chair of the First Responders Honor Park, said this year’s winner Copp is the first winner of the annual Honor and Remembrance Ceremony coming from the ranks of Emergency Medical Services.
Past winners include, Bath State Police Trooper Nicholas F. Clark, who was shot and killed in the line of duty July 2, 2018, Steuben County Deputy Dean Swan, Arthur “Rick” Churches, of the Odessa Fire Department and Southport Fire Department firefighter Michael S. Smith.
Palmesano remembered back to 9/11 and what effect first responders had on that day and days after that.
“As people were running away from danger, it was our first responders who continued going up the steps of the tower to try to save lives,” Palmesano said. “They did save lives, but they also lost many lives in the process. That’s what first responders do. That’s what they did and that’s what our first responders do each and every day in our community. They put their lives on the line to keep us all safe, to protect us. We can’t thank them enough.”
“I thank every one of our first responders, for their continued protection and safety,” O’Mara said. “The dangers that our first responders subject themselves to willingly day in and day out is amazing.”
Palmesano, O’Mara and Hunt provided a Certificates of Proclamation commemorating the award.
Danforth told a crowd of about 100 people that the Tri-County First Responders