National Bike Ride Honors Fallen EMS Workers

For three days, bicyclists ride across Colorado



Wayne M. Zygowicz, BA, EMT-P | From the January 2008 Issue | Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The 2013 National EMS Memorial Bike Ride began its Colorado leg in Fort Collins, with stops in Boulder and Littleton on the way to the National EMS Memorial Service held June 22 in Colorado Springs. Under sunny skies and warm temperatures, the Muddy Angels set out on a three-day long-distance cycling event to celebrate the lives of fellow EMS workers who were sickened, injured or killed in the line of duty. The event also raises public awareness to the dangerous working conditions EMS providers face daily. This year’s memorial ride event drew participants from across the U.S., each of whom enthusiastically devoted their time and efforts to honoring and remembering colleagues who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Day three of the ride began with a memorial service at the future home of the National Air Medical Memorial Park in Littleton, Flanked by four medical helicopters under blue skies, a bell tolled once for each of the 19 fallen EMS workers as their names were read aloud. Family members and co-workers then shared stories about those they lost before the bike ride began again on the final leg to Colorado Springs for the National EMS Memorial Service.      

All Gave Some, Some Gave All
Friends, family members and colleagues slowly filed past the “Tree of Life,” which had names of the fallen etched in a leaf, as they entered the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs for the start of the 21st Annual National EMS Memorial Service.
The Honor Guard opened the service with the posting of the colors, including a state flag representing each honoree, as the packed crowd stood at attention. Eric W. Johnson, executive director of Supporting Heroes, Inc., gave the opening remarks, followed by keynote speaker James L. Robinson, assistant chief paramedic with Denver Health and Hospitals Authority and president elect of the International Association of EMS Chiefs. As a picture of each of the fallen was displayed on a large screen, National EMS Memorial Service Director Timothy J. Perkins told of their honor, dedication and sacrifice to EMS. Family members or agency representatives were presented with a white rose to represent undying love, an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol to denote their service to our country, and a medallion signifying their eternal memory. As family and friends of the honorees slowly exited the Pikes Peak Center into a sea of blue uniforms, they solemnly passed rows and rows of first responders standing at attention in honor of their fellow workers while “Amazing Grace” played softly in the background.

Never Forget
CFR Ethan Lynn Amsbaugh, Priority Response Ambulance; Mount Union, Pa. Last call: June 2, 2012

Paramedic Ruben Berrios, FDNY EMS; Brooklyn, N.Y. Last call: Dec. 10, 2012

Dr. Luis Bonilla, Mayo Organ Transplant Team; Jacksonville, Fla. Last call: Dec. 26, 2011

Paramedic Peter P. Carbonneau, Van Buren Ambulance Service; Van Buren, Mass. Last call: April 8, 2012

Flight Nurse James M. Dillow, REACT; Rockford, Ill. Last call: Dec. 10, 2012

Pilot Gene Grell, Mercy Air Med/Med-Trans; Mason City, Iowa Last call: Jan. 2, 2013

EMT Billie J. Grills,Carter County EMS; Grayson, Ky. Last call: Nov. 11, 1986

Organ Procurement Specialist David Hines, Mayo Organ Transplant Team; Jacksonville, Fla. Last call: Dec. 26, 2011

Flight Nurse Karen Marie Hollis, REACT; Rockford, Ill. Last call: Dec. 10, 2012

EMT Justin Michael Hueston, Vernon County Ambulance District; Nevada, Mo. Last call: Sept. 25, 2012

Flight Nurse Shelly Lair-Langenbau, Mercy Air Med/Med-Trans; Mason City, Iowa. Last call: Jan. 2, 2013

Pilot Andrew H. Olesen, REACT; Rockford, Ill. Last call: Dec. 10, 2012

Flight Paramedic Russell Piehl, Mercy Air Med/Med-Trans; Mason City, Iowa. Last call: Jan. 2, 2013

Paramedic David Restuccio, LIJ/Staten Island University Hospital EMS; Staten Island, N.Y. Last call: Aug. 27, 2012

EMT Joseph V. Schiumo, FDNY EMS; Brooklyn, N.Y. Last call: Dec. 9, 2012

SAR Member Ray Shriver, Teton County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue; Jackson, Wyo. Last call: Feb. 15, 2011

Pilot E. Hoke Smith, Mayo Organ Transplant Team; Jacksonville, Fla. Last call: Dec. 26, 2011

EMT Timothy Kyle Southern, Priority Patient Transport; Harrisonburg, Va. Last Call: Jan. 6, 2012

Paramedic Joshua A. Weissman, Alexandria Fire Department; Alexandria, Va. Last call: Feb. 9, 2012

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Tree of Life, remembering, National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, fallen heroes, ems ceremony, Jems Columns

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Wayne M. Zygowicz, BA, EMT-PWayne Zygowicz is a 30 year veteran of the fire service and currently holds the rank of EMS Chief with Littleton (Colorado) Fire Rescue. Wayne is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Emergency Medicine Services (JEMS) magazine, a writer and a nationally known speaker on fire and EMS topics.


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