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Annual National EMS Memorial Service & Air Medical Memorial Ceremony to be Held This Month

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Each year, hundreds of family members, friends, EMS, political leaders and colleagues from EMS agencies from around the nation gather together to remember EMS personnel who have died in the line of duty and recognize the ultimate sacrifice they made for their fellow man. This year, there are 19 honorees (see names below).

The National EMS Memorial is not a single event but rather a weekend of events centered on the ceremony known as the National EMS Memorial Service. This year the National EMS Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 22, at 6 p.m. MDT at the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs. It’s open to anyone who wishes to attend. The Service is a nondenominational ceremony that includes honor guard presentations, bagpipes, a helicopter flyover and distinct presentations to each family. Honorees’ families are presented with three items:

  • A U.S. flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol, denoting the honoree’s service to their country;
  • A white rose representing their undying love, and
  • A medallion signifying their eternal memory.

The National EMS Memorial is on display for the service, and it’s composed of the Tree of Life and the Memorial Book. The Tree of Life is a representation of an oak tree, which symbolizes strength. The name, agency and date of loss of each National EMS Memorial Service honoree are engraved on a bronze oak leaf, which is then added to the Tree of Life. The Memorial Book contains a page for each honoree. These pages contain photos, biographies and agency patches for each individual honored. The Memorial Book is kept on display near the Tree of Life. The display includes all EMS line of duty death honorees for all years since its inception in 1991.

The Air Medical Memorial ceremony will take place this year on Friday, June 21—one day prior to the National EMS Memorial Service—at sunrise. The ceremony will begin at 7 a.m. at the future site of the Air Medical Memorial at 10901 West Toller Drive in Littleton, Colo,. This year it honors six crew members lost in air medical related crashes.

For more information, visit the National EMS Memorial Service website at www.NEMSMS.org and the Air Medical Memorial website at www.airmedicalmemorial.org.

The Ultimate Challenge
Each year, many in EMS and the air medical communities make the ultimate sacrifice, losing their lives in the service of others. Currently, there’s no permanent national memorial for either group.

Land has been donated for both the National EMS Memorial, in Colorado Springs Memorial Park, and the Air Medical Memorial, in Littleton, Colo. Both groups are organized, poised and ready to build not only physical memorials, but also networks to support families and survivors, as well as programs to promote safety, health and resilience for our EMS professionals from the ground to the air.

Together, the groups are teaming together to issue “The Ultimate Challenge.” That is, each EMS agency in the country is challenged to raise $1,000 and each air medical program is challenged to raise $3,000. Both organizations encourage agencies to reach out to the community they serve to raise funds: hold a bake sale, do a car wash, pass the hat, sell donuts or be creative and come up with a unique idea to get the job done!

To take the challenge, sign up now by going to www.ultimate-challenge.org.

National EMS Memorial Service 2013 Honorees

  • Ethan Lynn Amsbaugh, of Priority Response Ambulance, Mount Union, Pa., died in the line duty on June 2, 2012, of injuries sustained in an ambulance involved motor vehicle collision.
  • Ruben Berrios, of FDNY EMS, Brooklyn, N.Y., died in the line duty on Dec. 10, 2012, of complications from working 9/11 World Trade Center site.
  • Luis Bonilla, of Mayo Organ Transplant Team, Rochester, Minn., died in the line of duty on Dec. 26, 2011, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Peter P. Carbonneau, of Van Buren Ambulance Service, Van Buren, Maine, died in the line of duty on April 8, 2012, of an on-duty cardiac event.
  • James M. “Jim” Dillow*, of REACT, Rockford, Ill., died in the line duty on Dec. 10, 2012, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Gene Grell*, of Mercy Air Med/Med-Trans, Mason City, Iowa, died in the line duty on Jan. 2, 2013, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Billie J. Grills, of Carter County EMS, Grayson, Ky., died in the line duty on Nov. 11, 1986, of an intercerebral hemorrhage while on-duty.
  • David Hines, of Mayo Organ Transplant Team, Rochester, Minn., died in the line duty on Dec. 26, 2011, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Karen Marie Hollis*, of REACT, Rockford, Ill., died in the line duty on Dec. 10, 2012, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Justin Michael Hueston, of Vernon County Ambulance District, Nevada, Mo., died in the line duty on Sep. 25, 2012, of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision.
  • Shelly Lair-Langenbau*, of Mercy Air Med, Mason City, Iowa, died in the line duty on Jan. 2, 2013, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Andrew H. “Andy” Olesen*, of REACT, Rockford, Ill., died in the line duty on Dec. 10, 2012, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Russell Piehl*, of Mercy Air Med, Mason City, Iowa, died in the line duty on Jan. 2, 2013, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • David Restuccio, of LIJ/Staten Island University Hospital EMS, Staten Island, N.Y., died in the line duty on Aug. 27, 2012, of injuries sustained in an ambulance involved motor vehicle collision.
  • Joseph V. Schiumo, of FDNY EMS, Brooklyn, N.Y., died in the line duty on Dec. 9, 2013, of complications from working on the 9-11 World Trade Center site.
  • Ray Shriver*, of Teton County Sheriff's Search & Rescue, Jackson, Wyo., died in the line duty on Feb. 15, 2011, of on injuries sustained in a search and rescue aviation accident.
  • E. Hoke Smith, of Mayo Organ Transplant Team, Rochester, Minn., died in the line duty on Dec. 26, 2011, of injuries sustained in a medical aviation accident.
  • Timothy Kyle Southern, of Priority Patient Transport, Harrisonburg, Va., died in the line duty on Jan. 6, 2012, of injuries sustained in an ambulance involved motor vehicle collision.
  • Joshua A. Weissman, of Alexandria Fire Department, Alexandria, Va., died in the line duty on Feb. 9, 2012, of injuries sustained in a fall from a bridge while operating at the scene of an motor vehicle crash.

*Also being honored at the Air Service Memorial ceremony.

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