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.
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