Meet Hero Of The Year Nominee Eric Heetland

Heetland evacuated victims of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria

Heetland evacuated victims of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria

Geneva Gives’ Hero Of The Year Finalist, Eric Heetland

Meet the third of our Hero Of The Year Finalists, Eric Heetland. Getting his start at the age of 18, Heetland has dedicated his life to helping others, from youth to seniors to victims of disaster.

A career steeped in public service led him down a path to his passion as an EMT and is now the Chief Flight Paramedic and Arizona Base Manager for AeroCare Air Ambulance.

A member of the FEMA Hurricane Response Team, Heetland braved less than mild weather conditions to evacuate victims of two hurricanes, spending 10 days in Houston during Hurricane Harvey and 2 weeks in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria.

Read Eric’s story below, through the voice of his nominator.

Learn more about the Hero Of The Year Initiative

Hero's Name: Eric Heetland

Hero's City of Residence: Scottsdale

Hero's State of Residence: Arizona

Eligible Categories:: First Responder (EMS, Firefighter)

Please describe what makes this individual a TRUE hero:: Eric Heetland, EMT-P, got his start working for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale when he was 18 years old. He worked with the youth of Scottsdale teaching them life skills through the Keystone Club, athletic skills coaching in the gym, and the occasional cooking class.

Eric eventually moved on to become the Teen Coordinator for the Rose Lane Branch, and in this role, he was in charge of all of the day to day programming for the members of the Teen Center as well as managing the staff. When Eric left the Boys and Girls Club he went on to work in the Human Services department for the City of Scottsdale.

His specific focus was the senior center where he programmed activities for senior adults, went on home visits to make sure that our citizens were living in acceptable conditions, had food to eat, and most importantly companionship.

During his time at the City of Scottsdale, Eric was a volunteer with the Scottsdale Fire department working to help prevent fall injuries in the home. He would routinely inspect citizens houses and make recommendations on how to “fall proof” their homes. He was also a previous member of the Scottsdale Fire Department Wildland Fire Crew as a wildland firefighter, where he would respond to emergency calls for brush fires and residential rattlesnake removal.

Working with the fire department, Eric knew he needed to make helping people a full-time job and went back to school to become an EMT. Heetland used his EMT training to work for Honor Health in the Emergency Department, treating patients that suffered from minor sprains to the severely injured caused by a trauma. In 2011, Eric graduated from Paramedic school and started a job as a flight Paramedic with AeroCare Air Ambulance where he continues to work today.

He is currently the Chief Flight Paramedic and Arizona Base Manager, and is responsible for the oversight of the Scottsdale based medical crews and day to day operations of the Arizona hub. Eric not only works in management, but also continues to fly and treat critically ill and injured patients as part of the flight team.

As a member of the FEMA hurricane response team, Eric responds to natural disasters to evacuate sick and injured patients impacted by natural disasters. He spent 10 days in Houston for Hurricane Harvey and 2 weeks in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria, flying patients to safety when they were faced with failing hospitals after the devastating storms.

Eric’s love for people shines through with his dedication and love for his profession.

Please describe how this individual has impacted the lives and community around them:: Just read the above statement. The man is truly in it for his community and those around him.

Nominated by: Kiesha McFadden

James Polinori