RCBC NJOEMS Coordinator Wins 2023 Prehospital Educator of the Year
Friday, Dec 08, 2023

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Services recently awarded Richard Bendel the 2023 Prehospital Educator of the Year. He has served the community since 1973 as a dedicated public servant. Currently, he holds the NJOEMS EMT Course Coordinator position for the RCBC EMT Program. 

When asked what this award means, Bendel responded, “It’s so rewarding because I enjoy teaching and interacting with the students, especially when you see that lightbulb go off.”

His passion for EMS began during his teenage years. He developed an interest in various organizations that taught him about the importance of safety and how he could contribute to helping others. He became particularly interested in the dangers of fire, which led him to pursue his calling as a firefighter.

Before joining the Lenola Fire Company in Moorestown as a firefighter, he volunteered with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) with Lenola Unit and then worked his way up to becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in 1980. His passion for helping others led him to teach EMS/EMT courses.

However, Bendel was also a state trooper since 1978 and his dedication to his job was tested on September 11, 2001. He was on the phone with someone who witnessed the first plane fly into the Twin Towers. Immediately after the disaster, his department was deployed to North Jersey to secure bridges and tunnels, which required six days a week, 12-hour long days. Years later, Bendel retired as a lieutenant after 28 years of service.

Despite his love for horses and ballroom dancing with his wife, Bendel felt compelled to take his career to the next level. The memory of his passion for teaching EMS and EMT lingered in his mind, and he found himself drawn to RCBC. Despite the initial setback of the Coronavirus pandemic, he remained determined to pursue his passion. The pandemic only inspired him to revamp the program, and he pioneered the current hybrid classes and procedures to help students succeed. His unwavering commitment to his craft and students has made him a valuable asset to the RCBC community.

Andrea Quinn, the Director of Paramedic Services at RCBC, shares her insights about Bendel’s dedication to his work.

“Rich Bendel has impacted the field of EMS Education substantially, with the highest ethic and integrity, is an understatement,” Quinn states. “The amount of lives that Rich has had an impact on, not just the students he has educated, but the lives he and those students made a difference, a testament to his lifetime of dedication and commitment to improving Emergency Medical Services.”

His commitment to public service is truly inspiring and a valuable asset to the RCBC EMT Program. Bendel still strives to put his students to the test with evolving simulations and scenarios to prepare them for their careers in EMS.