The highly talented and experienced Leadership Team at Gila River EMS is comprised of over 140 years of experience in all facets of Emergency Medical Services. We strive to create an environment that is structured enough for a growing organization but still has that family, friendly feel. Our doors are always open, so come by and visit anytime.
EMS Chief Kurt Rainbolt, Paramedic
Chief Rainolt is a Community member from District 4 and has served with the Department of Emergency Medical Services for over 20 years. Starting in 1993, he began his career as an Emergency Medical Technician on an Interfacility Unit. In 1995, he was named the BLS Provider of the Year. In 1997 Chief Rainbolt attended EMSTAR where he obtained his National Registry Paramedic certification and began his career as Paramedic on a 24 hour 911 ambulance. In 1999 Chief Rainbolt promoted to Supervisor (now Battalion Chief) where he developed the public relations program and the first Native American EMS Bike Team in Indian Country. In 2000 he attended the fire academy and obtained his Fire 1 & 2 certification. In 2003 he moved into a management position as Division Chief overseeing the fleet, communications, IT and support functions. During his 9 years as Division Chief he managed numerous large projects and participated on many committees. In 2012 Chief Rainbolt became the department’s Deputy Chief where he directs operations and oversees the performance of the Division Chiefs and Battalion Chiefs who assure that superior care is rendered daily. In August 2016 he was named EMS Chief after a nationwide search. Chief Rainbolt away from the office enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He also enjoys dirt track racing and oversees fire rescue services at a local dirt track.
Division Chief Char Dillenbeck, Paramedic
Retired June 2016
Chief Dillenbeck received her National Registry EMT-Basic from Yavapai Community College in 1985. In 1987 she upgraded to an Intermediate EMT from Yavapai Community College. In 1990 she received her National Registry Paramedic from Samaritan Health Services as Valedictorian of the class. She began her career in EMS as an EMT at LifeLine Ambulance in Prescott, Arizona. She lived in Prescott for 5 years then moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1990. She worked for Southwest Ambulance for 7 years and began her career as a Paramedic with Gila River EMS in February of 1994. She received the honor of ALS of the year in 1996 from her peers. In addition to serving the Gila River Indian Community, Char worked as a general manger of a local Dairy Queen for 15 years, which helped all the EMS personnel reap the benefits of ice cream mistakes. In 2003 she was promoted to Division Chief and has remained in that position. In 2010 she received a certificate from the National Registry of EMT’s in recognition of 20 years as a member. She currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona with her two dogs, three turtles, and a multitude of fish.
Deputy Chief Kevin D. Knight, Paramedic
Operations & Special Operations
Chief Knight has been in the field since 1996 where he started as an EMT-Basic. He has been with Gila River EMS since 2000 starting as an EMT-B and then shortly thereafter earning his Paramedic certification. He has also worked as a Command Support Officer and Battalion Chief within the organization. In 2008 and 2012 Chief Knight was named Battalion Chief of the Year. Chief Knight is a Tactical Medic graduating from the NTOA’s STORM Medic course and is a graduate of the Mesa SWAT Operator’s School and a Tox/Hazmat Medic. He is the lead medic for both of these teams and enjoys this time in the field away from a desk. He has developed the Special Operations Division from the ground up since starting the Division as a Battalion Chief. A good deal of his time is spent in all-hazards response planning where he is the EMS liaison with the GRIC Office of Emergency Management (OEM). He has been instrumental in developing some of the original large scale event planning guidelines for the community. Together with the Public Safety Division he is working on developing a tribal All-Hazards Type III Incident Management Team where he is qualified as a Planning Section Chief. Outside of work he is known as Coach Knight as he loves to coach youth sports where he has been mentoring and coaching youth in various organizations for many years including Junior High and High School sports programs, various sports leagues, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He is an avid survivalist and wilderness medic. Chief Knight is currently finishing a degree in Public Administration/Homeland Security. When he is not working, doing school work or coaching he is spending time with his wonderful wife and 3 children at home or in the great outdoors where they love to atv, hike and camp.
Division Chief Tamara Nacho, Paramedic
Chief Tamara J Nacho is a member of the GRIC from District Five, and she spent her childhood in District Six. She began her career in Public Safety when she attended the first All Native American Fire Academy in 1997. It included Fire I and II and the EMT-Basic certificates. Chief Nacho worked as a full-time Firefighter at the Gila River Fire Department from 1997 to 2001 and at the Ak-Chin Fire Department from 2001 to 2002. In July 2002 she went to work part-time for Gila River EMS and was hired full-time in October 2002. Chief Nacho attended and graduated from the PMT Paramedic program in 2005 as part of the Phoenix Community College system. Chief Nacho has been actively involved in community service events, the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Program, teaching and mentoring the Gila River EMS classes and assisting with CPR/AED/1st Aid classes. In her spare time, she has traveled all over the country with her co-workers to attend team Ragnar Relay events. Because of her familiarity with the Community and the culture, she has participated in many interview panels for departments aboard the Community and she was a dedicated trainer for newly hired employees when they first came to the Community to introduce them to the area as well as establish the level of care the department demands of its providers. She served on many 911 units as she advanced within the department – Command Support Officer, May 2008; EMS Battalion Chief, March 2009; until her most recent promotion to EMS Division Chief, February 2013. Chief Nacho is currently completing her Associate’s Degree in Paramedicine and finalizing her requirements for her Associate’s Degree in Fire Science.
Grace Watson, EMT, Training Supervisor
Grace Watson proudly states that she is a military “brat” and raised a military family of 3 beautiful, kind and successful daughters: Michelle, Katie and Beth. She calls Ft. Sill, Oklahoma her home, and attended University of Oklahoma from 1970 to 1977. Grace comes to us with a 40 year resume involving Accounting, Administration and Management with 14 of those years working in the healthcare industry. In March 2007, she made a late-in-life decision to become more prepared when she attended her first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class. That introduction to preparedness and emergency management led her to take her Emergency Medical Technician class at Paradise Valley Community College in Fall 2007. After successful completion of the course, she received her National and State certifications as an EMT-Basic. Grace was hired part-time at Gila River Indian Community in April 2008. She started working on the 911 units and then began assisting in the Training Division, and was hired full-time in September 2009. She became an Instructor for FEMA’s CERT program in 2009, became a CPR/1st Aid instructor in 2010, and has continued to progress as a training professional. She has attended classes to become a National and State EMS instructor, as well as teaching for ASHI, GEMS, FEMA, state of Arizona SHARE program, and most recently, adjunct faculty for the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout program. She is beginning a degree completion program at Grand Canyon University to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management. Grace tells everyone that the biggest blessing in life is the health and happiness of her family: her Dad, her Grandmother, her daughters, an “amazing” son-in-law and 2 grandsons; and of course, the “family of her heart” – her coworkers and the members of the Gila River Indian Community.
Amy Sherwood, Office Coordinator
Amy started her career in Public Service with Pinal County in the Child Support Division as a Clerk I in July 1996. In April of 1998 she transferred into the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office as a Secretary. During her 16 years at PCSO she worked her way up to the position of Administrative Clerk III. She is well versed in office management and computers. In February of 2013 she jumped at the chance to work on the Gila River Indian Community where she is now the Office Coordinator for Gila River EMS.