ALBANY – In times of emergency, you want someone like Norma Cummings
on your side. Whether it’s her family, friends or a stranger in need, she
commits her time to helping others with kindness and compassion.
In honor of her years of dedication, Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I –
Olean) named Mrs. Cummings as the 2012 Woman of Distinction for the 57th
New York Senate District.
“I was very surprised when I learned I had been named this year’s
Woman of Distinction. I do what I do to help – and I do the best I can for
a lot of people. When I stop and look at 25 years in the fire service, the
years at the Office of Emergency Medical Services for Chautauqua County,
and all the things we have done to help people, I hope that our impact is
something that lasts. I am grateful for all Senator Young does for our
county, and I am happy to be here,” Mrs. Cummings said.
At a ceremony Tuesday evening in Albany, Senator Young recognized
Mrs. Cummings for her achievements and service to Chautauqua County’s
Office of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and other area organizations.
“Norma Cummings is hard-working and thoughtful, and her concern for
others improves the quality of our communities, which she enthusiastically
supports through her many endeavors. Norma has a incredible understanding
of a community’s needs during times of disaster, and I am inspired by her
drive to ensure everyone receives the proper care. Her compassion and
determination has earned her this recognition and I can’t think of anyone
more deserving,” said Senator Young.
Julius Leone, Fire Coordinator for Chautauqua County EMS, added,
“Norma is a special person. She is always willing to help someone else in
their time of need. She does everything quietly with compassion and
determination. She is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
She works so hard for others, and there’s no more deserving person than
Norma. This is a wonderful thing for her, and we are so excited for her.”
Mrs. Cummings’ husband, Scott, and her son, David, joined her in
Albany for the Women of Distinction celebration. During her visit, Mrs.
Cummings appeared on Senator Young’s weekly television segment and spent
time touring the capital.
Mrs. Cummings currently serves as the program planning coordinator
for Chautauqua County’s Office of EMS. She has actively participated on the
Emergency Medical Service Council, Future of the Fire Service Committee,
Mayville Rescue Squad, Western District of the Emergency Managers
Association, American Red Cross, and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services
In addition, Mrs. Cummings also helps the Boys Scouts, her Church,
the Food Bank and Centaur Stride Therapeutic Riding Stables, an
organization that promotes therapeutic horse riding for people with special
needs. Having a special needs child of her own, Norma has volunteered many
hours to special needs children as a Physical Therapy Assistant.
As an EMT instructor for SUNY Fredonia and Cardio-Pulmonary
Resuscitation (CPR) trainer, Norma has enhanced the pre-hospital medical
attention of First Responders both at the scene and in the ambulance
through the many EMTs she has trained in Chautauqua County. She
established a CPR training center and was instrumental in implementing a
program placing AEDs in offices throughout the County.
In 1994, Norma received the Distinguished Woman of Westfield award
through the YWCA for volunteer work with area hospitals, the Community and
Fire Departments. In 1999, was awarded the EMS Provider of the Year by the
Chautauqua County American Legion.
After the tragedy on September 11, 2001, Norma was one of several
volunteer EMTs from Chautauqua County to go to Ground Zero to assist with
the relief efforts in New York City. Norma’s concern for human needs
during a disaster is also evident in her job with Emergency Services.
During the flooding in Silver Creek in 2009, Norma was the driving force
that pulled all resources together in a well-organized power house of
Mr. Leone and Patricia Cook, Administrative Assistant for Chautauqua
County EMS, noted Mrs. Cummings’ work after a flood in Silver Creek in
“She was always reaching out to identify people that needed help. She
would find people that may have otherwise ‘fallen through the cracks’ or
didn’t want to come forward for help, and she would make sure they received
assistance. She does that every day,” Mr. Leone said.
Ms. Cook added, “She doesn’t ever want anyone left behind. I was only
here for three months when the flood happened, and I was impressed with the
fact she was so organized, kept everyone else organized and made sure no
one was left behind in their needs. She does so many things, and I am proud
to be her friend and to work with her.”
Created in 1998, the Senate’s “Women of Distinction” recognition
seeks to honor New York women who exemplify personal excellence or whose
professional achievements or acts of courage, selflessness, integrity or
perseverance serve as an example to all New Yorkers.