Paramedic John Sylvester is recognized as health care hero
Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has celebrated the best of the Twin Cities for many years. This year, Paramedic John Sylvester is the 2022 Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal’s second annual Health Care Hero in the First Responder category. This award recognizes Twin Cities individuals for putting innovation, care, dedication, and compassion to work to improve the human condition. John was celebrated at an award ceremony for his passion for going above and beyond his duties. (Pictured above at the ceremony with his parents, his son, and his wife.)
John and his EMS colleagues started the Sock Drive, a cause that John has continued to champion and grow. During the pandemic, he created online Target and Amazon registries for those in need. Beyond socks, he added hats and gloves and stepped up the choices to include better quality for the unsheltered who can develop frostbite and often end up at Hennepin Healthcare’s ED and Burn Center. This winter clothing is distributed directly to people either by paramedics in the ambulance, to patients being discharged from the ED, or through Hennepin EMS human service partners in the community.
In 2021, John also coordinated a $1,200 donation from his union board, matched with a $1,000 donation by Fleet Farm, to purchase toys and books for pediatric patients in Hennepin Healthcare’s Child Life department.
John was interviewed by the Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal. He stressed the biggest challenge in EMS is a lack of diversity in their staff, which is a problem nationally as well. John and his union leadership (the Hennepin County Association of Paramedics and EMTs, or HCAPE) have created the HCAPE Foundation to recruit, train and mentor young BIPOC learners from our community to be the future of Hennepin EMS. This work begins with the creation of the Hennepin Paramedic Corps as an Explorer Post for young people of color to get exposure, training, and future job placement in EMS and create scholarships for education.
It’s been a tough couple of years, but John cites his biggest accomplishment was “Standing with my fellow first responders has been a profound privilege. My colleagues and I have navigated COVID, civil unrest, surging community violence, and rapidly changing dynamics within our partner agencies all while working through significant staffing shortages.”
To relieve stress, John enjoys running, biking, and yoga, and spends time with the “world’s greatest wife and son”!
Congratulations to John and his fellow colleagues with Hennepin EMS.