OnStar Donates $400,000 to First Responders

OnStar recognizes emergency responders in the U.S. with donations of $20,000 each to 20 deserving recipients

OnStar 20th Anniversary
OnStar 20th Anniversary

DETROIT — Today OnStar celebrates its 20th anniversary by giving $20,000 each to 20 public safety personnel who experienced serious physical injury or hardship that impacted their ability to perform their jobs.

OnStar identified the 20 recipients by working with the International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation (IACPF), Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) – Sunshine Fund, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT).

“Each day OnStar receives more than 245,000 calls from drivers in need of some support, so we understand the importance of a human connection, especially in an emergency situation,” said Christine Sitek, OnStar chief operating officer for General Motors’ Global Connected Customer Experience team. “The first responder community plays a vital role in working with OnStar advisors to quickly deliver emergency services to our drivers and passengers in need. We couldn’t have become a leader in safety and security without their support.”

One of the selected first responders, Andy Allison, was a firefighter at the Lewisville Fire Department in Lewisville, Texas, when he sustained career-altering injuries while responding to a structure fire. Since his injury, Allison has dedicated his life to helping others manage occupational medicine and advocating for others suffering debilitating injuries in the line of duty. He has been speaking around the country on how to prepare for worst-case scenarios and manage life after a debilitating injury.

“My goal is to help other firefighters prepare for if, or when, they get hurt,” said Allison. “In this career, you need to know what can be done proactively to protect yourself and your family, both physically and financially, and I want to help others be equipped to manage whatever comes their way.”

“Thanks to public safety responders across the nation, OnStar is able to provide a life-saving connection that is needed every hour, every day for the past 20 years,” said Cathy Bishop, OnStar Global Emergency Services senior manager. “This donation demonstrates our great appreciation for all first responders, especially those who suffer serious injury and financial hardship in the name of public service.”

20 Years of Innovating Connected Emergency Services
When GM debuted OnStar in 1996, it was the first in-vehicle technology in the industry to automatically connect to a live person when the vehicle’s airbags deployed. That advisor would work with first responders to provide assistance.

Along with industry-leading technology, OnStar’s emergency advisors receive innovative training, allowing them to be prepared for all situations, from vehicle crashes to mothers giving birth to natural disasters. OnStar has implemented Emergency Medical Dispatch with its advisors, which uses set protocols to assess the situation and provide pre-arrival information to first responders. Together, OnStar’s technology and advisors give first responders the information they need before arriving on the scene.

Honoring 20 First Responders

Below is a list of donation recipients and more information on them and OnStar’s 20th Anniversary can be found on the OnStar Connected Journey blog.


Name: Tom Albert
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Organization: IAFC
About Albert: A 19-year Boulder Fire Department veteran, Albert also taught fire safety lessons to University of Colorado students in a program that has become standard across the country. Albert was participating in a fire training exercise when an overstretched hose broke loose from the fire engine and he was struck by its recoil. Although he suffered significant injuries, Albert’s optimistic attitude is seen while he attends physical therapy.



Name: Andy Allison
Location: Lewisville, Texas
Organization: IAFC
About Allison: After sustaining career-altering injuries while responding to a structure fire, Allison has dedicated his life to helping others manage occupational medicine and advocating for others suffering debilitating injuries in the line of duty. He is looking forward to speaking at the FDIC International 2017 on how to prepare for worst-case scenarios and manage life after a debilitating injury.



Name: Jason Bowmaster
Location: Jacksonville, Arkansas
Organization: IAFC
About Bowmaster: Lt. Bowmaster was seriously injured when he was intentionally struck by a motor vehicle while responding to a crash scene. He received the Purple Heart. Bowmaster and his wife are raising awareness of the difficulties faced by those injured in the line of duty.



Name: Michael Sullivan
Location: Palos Hill, Illinois
Organization: IAFC
About Sullivan: A dedicated member of the North Palos Fire Protection District since 1997, Sullivan served as a part-time firefighter until he was severely injured when a ceiling collapsed on him during a structure fire. Sullivan’s dedication to the district is seen through his upbeat attitude and continued friendships at the fire department.



Name: Marty Dulworth
Location: Anderson, Indiana
Organization: IACPF
About Dulworth: While responding to an “officer down” call, Dulworth and his K-9 partner, Kilo, were shot, resulting in the dog’s death and the amputation of Dulworth’s left leg. Dulworth continues his work in K-9 training. He is dedicated to being a strong role model to his children. He teaches them never to give up.



Name: Ruben Garcia
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Organization: IACPF
About Garcia: Deputy Garcia was following up on a domestic call when he pulled over the suspect’s vehicle and the driver shot him several times in the face. After his recovery in the ICU, he married his sweetheart of more than 20 years.



Name: Timothy Jones
Location: Park Forest, Ill.
Organization: IACPF
About Jones: Officer Jones suffered life-threatening injuries to his head and neck while responding to an in-progress burglary. While only a one-year veteran of the Park Forest Police Department, Jones has already made a valuable impact on his community by volunteering with his high school alma mater, Tinley Park High School and with the Special Olympics and Toys for Tots. He is continuing to make progress in his recovery.



Name: Peter Laboy
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Organization: IACPF
About Laboy: In February 2013, Officer Laboy stopped a vehicle in response to a harassment call. As he approached the vehicle, the driver shot him in the head and fled. He has gone through an arduous recovery and went on to receive the Gold Medal of Valor from the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.



Name: Nick Tullier
Location: East Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Organization: IACPF
About Tullier: In July 2016, Deputy Tullier was part of the unit responding to an ambush call in Baton Rouge. Upon reaching the scene, he was ambushed and shot, resulting in traumatic brain and massive abdominal injuries. Since July, Tullier has undergone more than a dozen surgeries and continues to recover.



Name: Jennifer Aycox
Location: Pearl, Mississippi
Organization: NAEMT
About Aycox: While administrating aid to an injured patient, Aycox was struck by an intoxicated driver and sustained severe injuries to her left leg, eye and pelvis. She has been called a positive example to others as she does not give up and works hard to overcome any obstacle.



Name: Derek Boehm
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
Organization: NAEMT
About Boehm: Boehm is a flight paramedic who was the sole survivor of a helicopter crash in the Superstition Mountains that occurred while returning from transporting a patient. After sustaining severe injuries, Boehm has committed to returning to his flight line and continues to help his organization during his recovery process.



Name: Pleasant DeShong
Location: Cocoa, Florida
Organization: NAEMT
About DeShong: DeShong was a firefighter-paramedic with Brevard County Fire Rescue in Florida. Thanks to DeShong’s quick action, he prevented harm to others but suffered significant injuries to his hip, pelvis and right leg after a broken utility pole fell into a group of people. His sacrifice is greatly appreciated by his community.



Name: Eric John
Location: Macon, Ga.
Organization: NAEMT
About John: With a career dedicated to public service, John has served in the Macon Police Department, Department of Corrections, Macon Bibb Fire Department and now emergency medical services for Macon, Ga. In these roles he has assisted with a very wide range of medical emergencies, including search and rescue after floods and delivering six babies. While responding to a collision on Interstate 75, John was struck by a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, throwing him across five lanes of traffic. Following his accident, John forgave and became friends with the young driver. John continues to be dedicated to his community through his work mentoring young adults at his church and local community.



Name: Marnee Smith
Location: Valley View, Texas
Organization: NAEMT
About Smith: While on the way to a call, Smith was involved in a serious vehicle accident that resulted in amputation of her right leg. Smith’s positive outlook and determination allowed her to take up her duties again as well as become the lead instructor of the EMT program at North Central Texas College-Corinth Campus.



Name: Teresa Allred
Location: Greensboro, N.C.
Organization: APCO
About Allred: A ­member of the Guilford Metro 9-1-1 team since 1991, Allred began a career as a dispatcher to make a positive difference in someone’s life. When she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2014, a coworker founded a non-profit, the TLC Fund, in an effort to help combat medical bills. This fund also provides assistance to communicators across the state to help those who are facing traumatic life-changing hardships. Allred continues to battle ongoing health issues.



Name: Lindsay Prater
Location: Hutchinson, Kansas
Organization: APCO
About Prater: Prater was a paramedic who became a dispatcher in May 2012. During her tenure at the Hutchinson Dispatch, she assisted in a variety of situations, including helping a father deliver a baby at home and talking a girl through giving CPR to her father. In December 2014 the mother of two was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma and had a brain tumor removed two months later.



Name: Luanne Quick
Location: Woodstock, New York
Organization: APCO
About Quick: In December 2015, Quick experienced a stroke while on call. She was taken to a local hospital and then suffered from two more strokes. She has made some recovery and continues to support Ulster County 911.



Name: Tammy Shupp
Location: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Organization: APCO
About Shupp: Shupp has been a dedicated member of the Routt County Communications Center for more than 13 years. In July 2015 she lost her home to a fire while working at Routt County Communications Center. The wealth of knowledge that she possesses along with her willingness to help are assets to the local law enforcement, fire department and EMS community and members of Routt County. These skills have led to her promotion to a supervisor position.



Name: Rebecca Walsh
Location: Solomon, Kan.
Organization: APCO
About Walsh: A dispatcher for more than 10 years, Walsh was diagnosed with a possible brain aneurysm in May 2015. She underwent several brain surgeries that corrected four aneurysms. She is recovering at home and doing very well.


*The final recipient is pending, upon approval from her local municipality.

About OnStar
Launched in 1996, OnStar is a wholly owned subsidiary of GM Holdings LLC (“GM”) and offers emergency, security, navigation, connections and vehicle manager services in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Opel and Vauxhall models. Totaling nearly 10 million customers in North America, Europe, China and South America, OnStar offers a range of standard, subscription and a la carte services such as Advanced Diagnostics, Automatic Crash Response, Stolen Vehicle Assistance, AtYourService, OnStar Smart Driver and 4G LTE Wi-Fi. In 2015, OnStar surpassed 1 billion customer interactions, topped more than 2 million 4G LTE Wi-Fi equipped-vehicles, and debuted in Opel/Vauxhall.

About the Foundation of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP Foundation)
The Foundation of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of the IACP, a professional association that supports law enforcement worldwide. Founded in 1990, the IACP Foundation celebrated its 25th Anniversary by announcing a new vision – traumatically injured law enforcement officers will never feel abandoned. The IACP Foundation is committed to connecting, supporting and strengthening these injured officer and their families to thrive after a serious line of duty injury.

About Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 
Founded in 1935, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals and supports the largest U.S. membership base of any public safety association. APCO International provides public safety communications expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach to benefit more than 25,000 members and the public. The corporate headquarters of the Association is located in Daytona Beach, Florida with executive and government affairs offices located in Alexandria, Virginia.

About International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC)
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world's leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.

About National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT)
Formed in 1975 and more than 55,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is the only national association representing the professional interests of all emergency and mobile healthcare practitioners, including emergency medical technicians, advanced emergency medical technicians, emergency medical responders, paramedics, advanced practice paramedics, critical care paramedics, flight paramedics, community paramedics, and mobile integrated healthcare practitioners. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings, and in the military.