Skilled to Work: Silver Snoopy award given to first HEMSI paramedic

From left, Marshall Center Director Jody Singer, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Silver Snoopy honoree Tony Ceci, and astronaut Rex Walheim.
From left, Marshall Center Director Jody Singer, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Silver Snoopy honoree Tony Ceci, and astronaut Rex Walheim.

The award was presented to Tony Ceci by two astronauts who flew on the final missions of the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.

Posted: Aug 15, 2019 11:30 AM

Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (HEMSI) paramedic Tony Ceci wasn’t born in the Rocket City, but he is a Huntsville man through and through.

"My family moved to Huntsville when I was two-years-old, so I basically just grew up in Huntsville. No memory of anywhere else. And of course, you know, like most families that move to Huntsville, my father was deployed on the Arsenal,” said Ceci.

According to Calhoun Community College, the median salary for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics is $32,875. There are about 132 annual openings for EMTs in a 60 mile radius from Calhoun's campus.

Ceci started working with Huntsville’s ambulance service in 1990 and began working at Marshall Space Flight Center in 2007.

A year later, he took a lead role in upgrading Marshall’s automated external defibrillator (AED) system.

"Actually, when I came here there was a smaller AED-type program. It had no central point of control,” said Ceci.

That work paved the way for him to receive the prestigious Silver Snoopy award. The pin is given to fewer than one percent of NASA employees and contractors.

It’s awarded to those who have “significantly contributed to the human space flight program to ensure flight safety and mission success,” according to NASA.

Out of the nearly 4900 pins that have been awarded at Marshall, Ceci is the first HEMSI paramedic to receive the award.

“I didn’t know that contractors were eligible to win. So the thought of ever actually getting one was never really there,” said Ceci.

The pin is always awarded by an astronaut because “it is the astronauts' own award for outstanding performance, contributing to flight safety and mission success.” The pins have also all been to space aboard a Space Shuttle mission.

Ceci received his from former New Mexico Senator and Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt along with Ret. Col. Rex Walheim, who flew on STS-110, STS-122 and STS-135.

"So they were both basically closing those two projects of their time. So that was kind of neat to meet both of them,” said Ceci.

Occupational Health Officer David Thaxton nominated Ceci for the award.

"We’ve had great paramedics and staff in years past, but Tony has really stepped up to the plate and instituted our AED program and built if from the ground up. And we thought that was worthy of recognition,” said Thaxton.

It's good. It’s nice to be recognized,” said Ceci. “Whenever we can get people the tools to keep bad things from happening, that’s a good thing.”

The Silver Snoopy recipient is now working to update to the latest AED equipment and find more ways to improved safety at Marshall.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 45°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 47°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 50°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 48°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 822085

Reported Deaths: 12001
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby914971575
Davidson86563918
Knox48960619
Hamilton42811480
Rutherford41428415
Williamson26942213
Sumner22909338
Montgomery18780223
Out of TN17852101
Wilson17747223
Unassigned16441132
Sullivan15781283
Blount14839194
Bradley14284147
Washington13850240
Sevier12986174
Maury12901166
Putnam11072173
Madison10628240
Robertson9486127
Anderson8539171
Hamblen8409169
Greene7645151
Tipton7171104
Coffee6782121
Dickson6643108
Cumberland6461127
Gibson6355144
Bedford6350126
Carter6332156
McMinn625595
Roane6124101
Jefferson6008121
Loudon595869
Lawrence573186
Hawkins5682105
Monroe564395
Warren549481
Dyer5340104
Franklin504987
Fayette484578
Obion447196
Cocke439598
Cheatham436551
Rhea428075
Lincoln427963
Marshall407358
Campbell405462
Weakley398761
Giles391298
Henderson368375
Carroll355582
Macon354375
White351468
Hardin346166
Hardeman345063
Lauderdale312744
Henry309775
Marion307246
Scott303145
Claiborne302373
Overton294360
Wayne294134
Hickman278345
McNairy275354
DeKalb273953
Smith271737
Haywood267660
Grainger255449
Trousdale247822
Morgan242839
Fentress236346
Johnson226738
Chester208651
Bledsoe208211
Crockett199848
Polk196024
Unicoi191149
Cannon187531
Union184034
Grundy176431
Lake169526
Humphreys168721
Sequatchie165228
Benton160940
Decatur156438
Lewis154826
Meigs132123
Stewart129328
Jackson129235
Clay108331
Houston107333
Perry105628
Moore99217
Van Buren82621
Pickett75524
Hancock53612

Community Events