Helipad dedicated to Steve Tolen

Steve Tolen, left, is congratulated by chief pilot Roger Srouji of Enloe Flight Care during a dedication ceremony of the Plumas District Hospital helipad on Dec. 20. Tolen was recognized for advancing health care in northern California and Plumas County for 39 years. Photo by Laura Beaton
Laura Beaton

  The man has been a fixture in Plumas County’s health care community for 37 years. He is a paramedic, a firefighter, a teacher, father, husband and friend.

  On Jan. 1, 2013, he’ll also be retired. Steve Tolen, an all around nice guy who has given so much to the community, will hang up his medical spurs and take a well-deserved rest.

  Plumas District Hospital’s medical staff presented Tolen with a plaque commemorating his many years of diligent service and the key role he has continued to play in advancing

health care in northern Cal.

  A second plaque honoring Tolen will be installed at the helipad on hospital grounds. It reads:

  “This helipad is dedicated to William ‘Steve’ Tolen in appreciation of his instrumental role in advancing Northern California’s emergency medical service in Plumas County and for his years of diligent service to Plumas District Hospital and the surrounding communities.”

  A brief ceremony took place Thursday, Dec. 20, inside the hospital as well as outside on the helipad in the blustery cold and wind. More than 30 colleagues, family and friends attended.

  An Enloe FlightCare helicopter braved the strong winds to attend the dedication ceremony.

  Chief pilot Roger Srouji has been working with Tolen for twelve years. He said Steve is a major safety advocate.

  Srouji said, “His care for the program, his attention to the needs of the aircraft as far as location go – the installation of the wind sock, up to the minute weather information – Steve is knowledgeable about the aircraft.

  “He is helicopter savvy. When we hear from Steve Tolen that it is okay to fly, you can trust him. He’s a wonderful guy.”

  Local EMT II Peter Beck has known Tolen since 1988, when he decided to take a first aid class. Tolen was his teacher.

  Beck is one of many of the hundreds of students Tolen taught who ended up in the medical field – he stands alongside doctors, physician assistants, ER nurses, paramedics and EMTs who were inspired by Tolen to make a career in the health care field.

  “Steve instilled a high bar of excellence and performance,” Beck said. “He’s going to leave such a void.

  “He has carried a radio 24/7 for so many years. People feel safe and cared for when he’s on duty.”

  A community benefit for Steve Tolen was held in Sept. at the fairgrounds to raise money for Tolen’s healthcare needs as a result of cancer.

  Thousands of supporters attended the event and gave back to the man who has given so much to Plumas County and northern Cal.

  Now a plaque at the helipad will commemorate Tolen’s valuable contributions and dedication to health care and the community in perpetuity.

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