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A LifeForce helicopter lands at Erlanger hospital in this 2013 photo.

Doctors, nurses, administrators and staff gathered in the helipad hangar at Erlanger Medical Center Tuesday to honor first responders for National EMS Week. 

EMT's from across the region representing different emergency service providers were saluted and singled out for extraordinary service with awards like "Trauma Call of the Year," "EMT of the Year," and "Service Provider of the Year." 

Joey Quarles, an EMT with Puckett EMS, was awarded the Southeastern EMS Director's Association's EMT of the Year award. He said he was grateful, though reluctant, to accept the recognition. 

"It's a little awkward," Quarles said. "That's not why I got into it. I do what I do because I love it."

Several Erlanger doctors and administrators shared their appreciation, including Dr. Charles Campbell, Chief of Cardiology at Erlanger, who said that patient care starts with the 911 call and first responders. 

"It is a true honor to be among you today," Campbell said to the first responders in the crowd. 

The annual observance was started in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.  

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