A senior at Los Alamos High School, O’Neill has been on the Pajarito Mountain Ski Patrol for four years, having passed her Outdoor Emergency Care class in 2012 and her Outdoor Emergency Transportation Ski & Toboggan test in 2013. This season, she completed her Lift Evacuation, Line Launcher, and snow-mobile training and is working towards becoming a Senior Patroller. She became a Basic Emergency Medical Technician in December 2015.
The nomination letter from the local patrol says that as a patroller, “JoAnna has shown consistent leadership of both young adult and adult patrollers, becoming a trusted and highly-appreciated member of our ski patrol. JoAnna is a self-motivated, natural leader.”
“JoAnna has also taken the lead role in several medical responses,” the letter adds. “As an example, she was lead ski patroller responding to an adult male with a bleeding head injury caused by being hit in the head by a ski lift chair. Despite the fact that English was not the patient’s first language, JoAnna was able to communicate and render proper care, while directing the three adult patrollers who were secondary responders to the scent. None of these adults though it necessary to take the lead role away from her”.
O’Neill has been skiing at Pajarito since she was seven years old and has won the “Queen of the Mountain” award at Skiesta twice. Her father, Mike O’Neill, is also an avid skier and has served on the local patrol for 10 years.
When she’s not skiing, O’Neill serves as the captain of the LAHS NJROTC precision rifle team, which won the Navy JROTC National Championships last year and just won the Navy JROTC Regional Championship this weekend in Provo, Utah. She is also a past state high school shotgun champion and qualified for the state high school under 19 girls all-state team in 2015. Following graduation, she plans to study biology with a pre-med route and to eventually pursue a career in emergency medicine.
Other recent Pajarito recipients of the award were Cameron Guy in 2014 and Nathan Phillips in 2013. Steve and Julie Maze are the advisors for the Pajarito YAPs.