Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Nov. 25, 2013

Orange barrels on a highway

Tom Vanderwal wins Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths EMS Star Award


BEMIDJI, Minn. – Tom Vanderwal, program director at Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services in Bemidji, is this year’s recipient of the Toward Zero Deaths Star Award in Emergency Medical and Trauma Services.

“Tom radiates enthusiasm for EMS, collaboration and interdisciplinary partnership,” said Northwest Minnesota TZD Regional Coordinator Holly Kostrzewski. “He is the first to volunteer to make sure his rural community’s needs are met, and he excels at identifying partnerships and opportunities for traffic safety professionals.”

Vanderwal works as a collaborator to ensure northwest Minnesota roads are safe and EMS services are readily available in his community. He introduced the TZD concept to all of the Greater Northwest EMS volunteer ambulance groups and is an integral part of providing traffic safety education throughout the region. He is currently leading a fundraising project that will allow the northwestern Minnesota TZD regional partnership program to obtain a driving simulator for use in public education efforts on the dangers of texting and driving.

The Toward Zero Deaths Star Awards are given annually to recognize excellence in engineering, enforcement, judicial/court systems, education, emergency medical and trauma services, child passenger safety, media and distinguished public leadership. Award recipients have demonstrated exceptional creativity, leadership and organizational skills as well as the ability to successfully collaborate with and motivate others in efforts to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on Minnesota roads.

The Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program is an interdisciplinary partnership between the Departments of Health, Transportation and Public Safety. This collaboration began 10 years ago and since then has assisted in decreasing roadway fatalities by nearly half.

The annual Star Awards are presented at the Statewide Toward Zero Deaths conference. This year’s conference was held Nov. 14-15 in St. Cloud, with more than 900 traffic safety professionals attending.

You can learn more about TZD at: www.minnesotatzd.org/



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