The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who have contributed or had contributions made in their name of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.   It is awarded in “appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”

Lake Chelan Rotary Club has selected three community members to be recognized as honorary Paul Harris Fellows.  Viki Downey, Dr. Bob Jankelson, and Ray Eickmeyer have each given much to enrich the Lake Chelan Valley.  All three have moved beyond just doing their job into serving a passion for that job.

Viki Downey learned to swim at free swim lessons in Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho when she was a child.  Her love of swimming became a commitment to American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor qualification and to providing free lessons for anyone wherever she lived.   Moving from Coeur d’Alene to Wenatchee in 1961, she began visiting Lake Chelan and later began what has become a 25-year history with swimmers at Manson Bay.   In 2011, with help from Judy Phelps, co-owner of Hard Row To Hoe Winery, Viki realized her dream and has been offering free swimming lessons for anyone aged 4 or above through the Manson Parks organization.  The fun side of Viki’s passion is seen in her organization of 8k swims and The  Polar Bear Splash in the dead of winter.  The rumors are true.  She does swim in cold Lake Chelan every day of the year with exceedingly few exceptions.

Dr. Bob Jankelson thought he was a retired dentist, world authority and lecturer in neuromuscular dentistry when he moved to Chelan in 1994.  Retired from that portion of his life, maybe.  But a passion for Tuscany and wine and a drive to help out at a low point in the Valley apple industry led him to plant grapes and develop an award-winning winery Tsillan Cellars.  Making quality wine employing local people has proven to be a very worthwhile venture with the Winery being awarded 2020 Winery of the Year in competition with 1,000 other wineries. Bob shares credit with his two winemakers Nic Stevens and Garret Grubbs, along with many others.  The 911 Glass Rescue, Lake Chelan Fire Department Advisory Board, and Senior Housing Project are a few of the local projects and activities that have benefited from his quiet support and enthusiasm.

Ray Eickmeyer married (Christina Eickmeyer) into the Chelan valley from his home in Spokane.  His position as Director of Lake Chelan Health EMS services, Paratransit, Safety and Preparedness at Lake Chelan Hospital began with training as a volunteer firefighter.  The medical aspects intrigued him and led to certification as a paramedic.  Though he did not intend to stay long in this small town, he found opportunities here like no where else.  Ray led the way in covid pandemic interventions for the Chelan valley as well as Chelan, Okanogan, and Grant Counties.  He credits his team with setting the example for Washington State taking immunizations and testing not only to large inoculation centers like the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, but also to homes, packing sheds and even among the orchard trees.  Ray also recently received a two-thousand dollar grant to purchase and install handrails in peoples homes.  The handrails will be given to Lake Chelan Rotary who will coordinate the installation work.

Rotary’s motto and guiding principle for Rotarians across the world is “Service above Self.”  The concept isn’t limited to Rotarians.  We are proud to recognize the exceptional contributions these three individuals have made to the local community.  It is additionally noteworthy that each of them when being interviewed eagerly and easily shared credit for their accomplishments with others in the Lake Chelan Valley.  We agree this is a special place filled with special people.

-reported by Lake Chelan Rotary & Lake Chelan Health

LakeChelanNow (LCN) tours the new Lake Chelan Health hospital building nearing completion.  Join the tour with hospital Chief Nursing and Operations Officer Shawn Ottley and Director of Facilities Ken Peters and Dennis Rahm of LCN.  Lake Chelan Health has scheduled a Grand Opening Ceremony and  hospital tours for October 15, 2022.   The new hospital is expected to open for patient care services in early November of this year.


Wenatchee, WA – On Thursday, June 30th, 2022 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Providers from a variety of EMS agencies gathered in Pybus Market, Wenatchee, WA for the annual EMS awards presentation.  Greater Wenatchee EMS Council and Dr. Lance Jobe, EMS Medical Director for Chelan/Douglas Counties presented the awards.

Five EMS providers received clinical excellence awards in recognition of their superior patient care skills, for being an effective advocate for patients and their families, for working with peers to foster a positive work environment, and demonstrates professionalism in interacting with patients, their families, and other medical professionals.

  • Mike Pirotto, a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue, received the 2021 Volunteer EMT of the Year Award for clinical excellence who shows superior patient care, is an effective advocate for patients and their families, works with peers to foster a positive work environment, and demonstrates professionalism in interacting with patients, their families, and other medical professionals.
  • Leilani DiPaula, a Emergency Medical Technician with Ballard Ambulance was awarded the EMT of the Year Award for clinical excellence who shows superior patient care, is an effective advocate for patients and their families, works with peers to foster a positive work environment, and demonstrates professionalism in interacting with patients, their families, and other medical professionals.
  • Austin Diamond, a Paramedic with Lake Chelan EMS, received the 2021 Paramedic of the Year Award for clinical excellence who shows superior patient care, is an effective advocate for patients and their families, works with peers to foster a positive work environment, and demonstrates professionalism in interacting with patients, their families, and other medical professionals.
  • Mike Battis, a Paramedic and Manager with Ballard Ambulance, was honored with the 2021 Leader of the Year Award for his exemplary EMS leadership through noteworthy contribution to local EMS, who is an advocate for patients and community, who actively works with other agencies to foster a positive teamwork approach.
  • Yvonne Kennedy, a EMT with Lifeline Ambulance, received the Darrel C. Kirking 2021 EMS Educator of the Year Award. For her efforts in brining high quality education and training to the providers of the Greater Wenatchee area.
  • EMS Agency awards was presented to:
    • Chelan Fire Department (CCFD#7) received the 2021 Best BLS Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Skills of the Year Award having outperformed all other EMS agencies in Chelan/Douglas Counties during the High-Performance CPR skills testing completed by the GW EMS Council’s Quality Improvement Officer for both team and individual performance.

The GWEMS Council also recognized EMS providers from several agencies for their contribution in saving the life of a patient in 2021 who experienced an out of hospital cardiac arrest. Those receiving a Lifesaving Award for a successful resuscitation in 2021 include:

Ballard Ambulance-Hayes Clawson, Dan Craig, Leilani DiPaula, Mike Battis, Shawn Ballard, Tyler Nikols, Erin Adams, Baxter Ceci,l Christian Soper, Erin Adams, Jacob Ward

CCFD#1-Terry Mathews, Luke Nichols, Jesse Stone, Matt Rise, Mitch Marcusson Peter Rigelman, Blake Larson, Lyle Stewart, Leon Furan, Hugo Santana, Clint Webley, Austin Clemens, Jeremy Anger, John Gutierrez-Zamora, Blake Larson, Trystan Daniels, John Gutierrez-Zamora, Jon Brown, Jerry Lopez, Cody Martinez, Josh Barnes, Donnie Etherington, Robert Johnson, Jacob Potent, Peter Rigelman, Blake Larson, Chris Paul, Clint Webley, Matt Rise, Mitchell Marcusson, Jesse Stone, Jon Riley, Elijah Barber

Lifeline Ambulance-Julia Anderson, Kyle Holborn, Aaron Jacobs, Chris Horton, Jonah Dobbs-Shill, Alexander Scott, Caden Bryant, Chris Horton, Maxwell Milburn, Chris Horton, Dale Smith, Tanner Randall-Gosselin, Brett Minor David Gettman, Jonah Dobbs-Schill, Raymond Salazar

DCFD#2-Jordan Givens, William Turner, Cole Clark, Herb King, Jacob Toevs, Elijah Weber, Jordan Givens, Josh Barnes, Tony Alabastro, Cole Clark, William Turner, Jacob Toeys, Elijah Weber, John Glenn, Herb King, Donn Etherington, Robert Johnson, Jacob Potent, Shane Flatness, Jason Koster, Kevin Weed, John Glenn, Herb King, Donn Etherington, Robert Johnson, Jacob Potent, Shane Flatness, Jason Koster, Kevin Weed

Lake Chelan EMS-Rachel McCall, Christina Eickmeyer, Austin Diamond, Kurt MIddleton, Jared Eygabroad, Austin Diamond, Kurt Middleton, Jared Eygabroad, Tom Smith, Raynor Baker, Mistaya Johnston, Austin Diamond, Scott McBride, Kurt Middleton

CCFD#7-Brandon Asher, Troy Keene, Stephanie Preheim, Shawn Sherman, John Steiner Greg Simpson, Brandon Asher, Troy Keene, Shawn Sherman, Brittany Addison

CCFD#5-Mike Knott, Aaron Richmond, Karen Sargent, Chris Willoughby, Beau Alanis, Cody Amsden, Nick Glenn, Aaron Richmond, Karen Sargeant, Chris Willoughby,

Cascade EMS- Chris Hanson, Josh Phillips, Madison McPhee, Zach Robinson, Mike Ing-Moddy, Ryan Swan, Amanda Werdell, Whitney Woodward

CCFD#3-Danny Bachelor, Amanda Werdell, Simon Keyeser, Kory Musilek, Madison Tibbits

CCFD#6- Robert Turner

Ballard Ambulance-

During the awards ceremony, Dr. Jobe also presented statistical information regarding the outcome of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Chelan/Douglas as compared to state and national outcomes and discussed opportunities for improvement.

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a leading cause of death among adults in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 300,000 OHCA events occur each year in the United States. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating, and death quickly follows if a normal heart beat is not started again within minutes.

In the first few minutes following OHCA, swift implementation of five critical actions, known as the “chain of survival”, can substantially increase the chances of survival.

1) Early or rapid activation of EMS by calling 911,

2) Early initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR),

3) Early defibrillation or application and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED),

4) Early access to advanced life support by EMS providers, and

5) Early post-resuscitative care.

The first two can be initiated by anyone, and the 3rd if an AED is available.

Survival rates vary widely across the United States. The likelihood of surviving an OHCA is about 10% according to America Heart Association.  In 2011, EMS agencies throughout Chelan and most of Douglas counties, instituted a new approach to resuscitation, which utilizes a precisely choreographed approach to minimize interruptions in compressions while emphasizing the importance of the basic concepts of chest compressions. We believe this has significantly improved survival from OHCA in Chelan and Douglas Counties. This approach is most effective when at least 6-10 EMT’s are able to respond to the 911 call.

In 2021, in Chelan/Douglas Counties, the survival rate for persons with a witnessed arrest and shockable rhythm was 41%, this is higher than the national average of 10%.   The second link in the chain of survival is early CPR.  In 2021, citizens-initiated CPR in Chelan/Douglas Counties 69% of the time. This is the highest bystander CPR rate in Washington State for FY 2021, and this is higher than the national average of 47% in FY 2021. Citizens play an important role in survival of early CPR.

To improve the survival for patients suffering an OHCA in Chelan/Douglas Counties, the GWEMS Council is encouraging everyone living or working in Chelan/Douglas Counties to learn how to perform CPR by the end of the year. This can be accomplished by taking a formal CPR class or watching a video on the reliable website like the American Heart Association ( ).  During recent years, changes in the CPR guidelines, including the adoption of hand-only CPR has been proven effective and important. Anyone who hasn’t taken a class recently is encouraged to take another class.

Early defibrillation provided by the application and use of an AED is another critical link in the chain of survival.  Therefore, the GWEMS Council is encouraging larger businesses to consider purchasing an AED that could be used to help save the life of someone suffering an OHCA. Businesses who own or purchase an AED are required, under RCW 70.54, to notify the local EMS system of the existence of the AED and its location. For more information about the Public Access Defibrillation program, including how to register or obtain medical oversight of an AED, contact The­­ Greater Wenatchee EMS Council at

Chelan, WA, January 25, 2022–-Lake Chelan Health (LCH) Board of Commissioners voted to hire Aaron Edwards as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), during the Tuesday January 25th, 2022, Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

Over the past three months, the Board conducted a comprehensive nationwide recruitment effort with the assistance of the LCH Transition Committee that included two community members, two LCH employees and two Board members.  From over 50 interested CEO position applicants, the Board selected several candidates for virtual interviews. From the interview group, Aaron Edwards was selected for an onsite visit to meet with hospital employees, medical staff, and the Board.  He also received a tour of the Lake Chelan Valley and visited the new hospital project site at Apple Blossom Drive in Chelan.

Aaron Edwards is anticipated to join Lake Chelan Health on April 18th, 2022.  He comes to LCH from Ferry County Hospital where he has been servings as CEO for the past five years. Ferry County Hospital has emergency, medical and long-term care services, assisted living facility, independent pharmacy, and a rural health clinic.  Mr. Edward’s experience includes oversight of a Critical Access Hospital similar to LCH, as well as developing patient service lines, revenues and local, and state and federal legislators’ support. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, a Master’s Degree in Health Policy and Administration, and holds a National Rural Health Association Rural CEO Certification.

“We are excited to welcome Aaron and his family to our hospital district and community,” said Board Chair Mary Murphy. “He brings great experience and passion for rural hospitals and community health.”

Mr. Edwards will work with Lake Chelan Health’s current Interim CEO, Emmett Schuster, to ensure a smooth transition for his arrival in April. Priority focus continues to be the new hospital construction project, which is on time and in budget, revenue growth, and quality of care.


Chelan, WA, December 2, 2021–During the Tuesday November 30,2021 Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Lake Chelan Health Board of Commissioners approved a contract with NetworxHealth LLC to hire Interim Chief Executive Officer, Emmett Schuster if a permanent CEO is not appointed by January 19, 2022. Mr. Schuster has a master’s in healthcare services administration (MHSA) and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).  Emmett Schuster brings over 25 years’ experience as CEO of rural health care facilities and Critical Access Hospitals, including hospitals in Washington State.  Mr. Schuster is not a candidate for the permanent CEO position.

The Board is currently conducting the search for a new CEO following the resignation of George Rohrich on October 23, 2021. The recruitment process for a new CEO can often take over three to six months. Transition Committee Chair and Board member Jeremy Jaech shared that “the Board and Transition Committee are making excellent progress evaluating the qualifications of CEO applicants.”

In October, the Board appointed Cheryl Cornwell, Chief Financial Officer to serve as temporary part-time Interim CEO.  Board Chair Mary Murphy shared that “Ms. Cornwell, in addition to her full-time CFO responsibilities, is managing key CEO duties very well since October 23, 2021. The Board is pleased with the work she has been able to accomplish. The Board recognizes that a full-time Interim CEO will provide the additional support necessary to keep momentum on many important projects underway now and in 2022, such as the new hospital construction, 2022 Strategic Plan, quality initiatives, and recruiting health practitioners. The full-time Interim CEO will also allow Ms. Cornwell to meet the increasing demands of her CFO duties and continuing to strengthen the finances of Lake Chelan Health.”

Co-President Pam James, on behalf of the Lake Chelan Health Guild B, presented a check in the amount of $5,000 to Jaime Minnock, Chief Nursing Officer, and the hospital at the November 30th Board of Commissioners meeting. The meeting was held virtually via zoom and the check was presented virtually in the hospital Board room. The $5,000 donation will be used to fund a Hoyer Journey Sit to Stand Lift that is needed to assist patients early on in their care recovery for mobility issues. It will greatly assist staff in the hospital to get patients mobilized for more varied daily activities aside from just lifting from bed to chair. The Rehabilitation department and  medical unit staff will be able to use this piece of equipment. Pam was accompanied by her Guild’s Co-President, Melissa Robins, Secretary Victoria Wheatley, Treasurer Nancy Parker (not pictured) and Past President Mary Ann Warren and long-time Guild B member Catherine Kent. Pam shared that Guild B wished they were able to raise more this year to donate, but with the COVID-19 challenges as they were, Guild B was glad to be able to present this $5000.00 check.

Lake Chelan Health is very grateful for the work that Guild B did to raise the funds for this equipment. Guild B for many years has also raised money for the hospital through their annual Home Tour event, which they have postponed the last two years due to the COVID pandemic.

The Washington State Department of Health of presented Lake Chelan Health EMS with an award plaque for their work related to reducing falls in the community.  Lake Chelan Health EMS is one of two hospitals in Washington to receive this  recognition award.

Falls in Washington state are the number one cause for injury.  Approximately 55% of 911 calls are related to falls. In the Lake Chelan Valley, the number one cause of injury is falls.  Approximately 200 calls ran by Lake Chelan Health EMS are related to injuries sustained from falls, which is why Ray Eickmeyer, Director of EMS and his team decided to drill down the reasons for the high volume of falls.

Some fall facts:

  • According to CDC, 1 in 4 elderly adults will fall this year
  • Among people aged 65 or up, falls account for 17% of 911 calls
  • Of these, 1 in 5 did not result in a transport
  • About 23% of patients not transported had a provider impression of “traumatic injury”
  • Up to 30% of falls cause moderate to severe injuries
  • Almost half of non-transported patients subsequently required health care within 2 weeks
  • 1 in 3 non-transported patients were seen in ED or hospitalized within 28 days of their initial fall
  • People who fall once are 2 to 3 times more likely to fall again within 1 year
  • A pilot study showed that linking older adults to community-based fall prevention program reduced fall rates by 55%

The EMS team focused on four areas to prevent falls from occurring and recurring.

  1. Reduce avoidable hospital-ED visits by 20% within 15 months
  2. Reduce hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge by 20% within 15 months
  3. Increase access/use of primary care by reducing individuals without a PCP by 20% within 15 months
  4. Prevention/intervention-reduce high risk patients from having worsening issues by reducing chronic disease patient admission rates in the hospital by 20% within 15 months

The EMS team adopted five major tactics to reach their goals, which also involved partnering with other organizations in the Lake Chelan Valley to meet the needs of residents that could not be provided by Lake Chelan Health EMS.

  • Fall Risk Screening (CDC STEDI)
  • Home Safety Assessment (remove hazards) & install ramps/handrails
  • Medication Review
  • SAIL program (and transportation to these classes)
  • LifeAlert Button installations

Community Partnerships:

  • With Chelan Rotary to provide free Ramps and install handrails in home and bathrooms
  • With the Chelan Senior Center and Lake Chelan Health Rehabilitation department who provides free Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) classes at the center
  • A partnership was developed with Link Transit and Okanogan Public Health to provide free transport to SAIL classes
  • Partnering with Life Alert to allow EMS to help clients sign-up and install a Life Alert system
  • With primary care providers
  • With hospital staff

The results: There was

  • 68% reduction of avoidable ED visits
  • 95% decreased 30-day hospital re-admission rate
  • 15% increase of PCP follow-up
  • 78% Decrease in high frequency 911 callers
  • 86% improved customer experience
  • 25% decreased patient falls

Because of the high level of caring in the Lake Chelan Valley, Lake Chelan EMS has been able to make a major impact in reducing injuries sustained from preventable falls.  If you know of someone that could benefit from the Lake Chelan Health EMS Paramedicine program, please call 509-682-3300 or Call 509-682-8523 to inquire about SAIL classes.


Lake Chelan Health EMS has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures to treat patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Each year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps reduce barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks – starting from when 9-1-1 is called, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. Optimal care for heart attack patients takes coordination between the individual hospital, EMS and healthcare system.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient.”

Program participants apply for the award recognition by demonstrating how their organization has committed to improving quality care for STEMI patients.

“Lake Chelan Health EMS is honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our dedication to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said Ray Eickmeyer, Director of EMS. “The Mission: Lifeline program puts proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis, so patients have the best possible chance of survival.”

Cognition and Swallowing Among the Common Challenges Persisting for Many Americans After COVID-19

With an estimated 10 to 30% of COVID-19 survivors experiencing “long-haul” symptoms including brain fog and swallowing difficulties, Chelan speech-language pathologist Emily Leavens is encouraging the public to seek care from qualified experts who can help them regain their functioning and quality of life. Leavens is sharing this message in recognition of May being national Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM).

“The pandemic has posed so many challenges to us all as a society, but one of the persisting and most vexing ones right now is the daunting set of difficulties many people are having for months after contracting COVID-19,” said Leavens. “From brain fog, to difficulty eating and drinking, to speech and language problems, these can affect return to work, the ability to take care of one’s family, and overall recovery. Many people don’t know about the services of speech-language pathologists—professionals trained in these areas who can make a huge difference for these people. This is an important time for us to spread the word: Help is available.”

How They Help

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can help people with, or recovering from, COVID-19 who are having short- and longer-term difficulties in the following areas:

  • Cognition

Many COVID-19 “long-haulers” are reporting persistent brain fog as a debilitating symptom after their bout with the virus. This can prevent a return to work and impact their ability to tend to family responsibilities. SLPs can work with individuals to improve their memory, attention, organization and planning, problem solving, learning, and social communication—such as re-learning conversational rules or understanding the intent behind a message or behind nonverbal cues. The focus is on the person’s specific challenges as well as regaining the skills that are most important to their daily life and priorities.

  • Swallowing

People diagnosed with COVID-19 may experience swallowing problems that can put them at risk for choking or aspirating, which is when food goes into the lungs instead of the stomach. This may be the result of time spent on a ventilator, or it may be another side effect of the virus. SLPs use different types of tests to determine what happens when a person swallows and how the related muscles are working—helping a patient’s medical team, including the SLP, decide on the best course of action with the patient and their family. SLPs may recommend modified textures of food and drink for patients; therapy exercises to strengthen the tongue, lips, and muscles in the mouth and throat; and strategies to make eating and drinking safer, such as modifying the pace of chewing/eating, size of food, and more.

  • Communication

People diagnosed with COVID-19 are also experiencing speech and language difficulties. Some, such as those who spent a significant amount of time on a ventilator or experienced low oxygen to the brain, may have muscle weakness or reduced coordination in the muscles of the face, lips, tongue, and throat—making it difficult to talk. Others, particularly those who experienced a COVID-related stroke, may experience a language disorder called aphasia—which makes it hard for someone to understand, speak, read, or write. SLPs work with patients through targeted therapy to improve their communication and understanding.

People who have severe speech and/or language difficulties may need to find other ways to answer questions or tell people what they want, such as through gesturing with their hands, pointing to letters or pictures on a paper or board, or using a computer. These are all forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). SLPs help find the appropriate AAC method to meet an individual’s needs.

Where to Find Care

SLPs work in settings that include hospitals, long- and short-term care facilities, private practices, and patients’ homes. Many SLPs are also providing their services via telehealth at this time. If you or a loved one are experiencing communication challenges, Leavens recommends letting your doctor know.

For more information, Chelan/Manson residents can contact Lake Chelan Health Rehabilitation at 509-682-8523; or visit