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Buchle wins Ralph Backenstoes Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to Emergency Medical Services

The Lebanon County Ambulance Association named Scott Buchle, director of operations at Penn State Health Life Lion LLC, as the recipient of the 2023 Ralph Backenstoes Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Scott is an amazing leader who always makes sure everyone feels supported and empowered,” said Dr. Jeff Lubin, professor of Emergency Medicine and Public Health, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. “Over his long career in emergency medical services (EMS) and EMS leadership, he has contributed in countless ways to improve prehospital care. It has been my honor to have worked with him. He is truly deserving of this award.”

Buchle has been active in emergency services in both Lebanon and Dauphin counties for more than 30 years, serving as both a paramedic and in multiple leadership roles. Gregg Smith, president of the Lebanon County Ambulance Association, presented the award to Buchle at an Association meeting on May 31.

Backenstoes’ EMS career spanned more than 45 years. He was a founding member of the Lebanon County Ambulance Association and a paramedic for Life Lion EMS until losing a long battle with cancer. Backenstoes and Buchle graduated from paramedic school together in 1993. Buchle says this connection makes the honor even more special.

The award is given annually to an individual who has dedicated significant time, effort, tenure, expertise and education to EMS systems in central Pennsylvania.

“Scott has been a significant force in EMS in Central Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Sal Alfano, medical director, Life Lion LLC. “I really saw his leadership during the transition of Geisinger EMS to Penn State Health Life Lion LLC. That was a significant undertaking, and Scott did it again when we integrated Susquehanna Valley EMS into the Lancaster Division of Life Lion LLC.”

Buchle has served in his current role since January 2021, helping to build Life Lion LLC and integrate the former services of Geisinger EMS, Susquehanna Valley EMS and Camp Hill EMS into Penn State Health. He oversees Penn State Health Life Lion LLC, leading health system-based EMS operations across five counties in South Central Pennsylvania. He assists in guiding the strategic development of prehospital services and helped to expand the Life Lion EMS program under the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Buchle served as program manager, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Life Lion EMS, for 10 years; and was director of medical operations, South Central Emergency Medical Services for nine years.

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