Each year, the National EMS Memorial Service honors members of services throughout the U.S. who have lost their lives while responding to, or participating in, an EMS mission. As part of the service, an engraved bronze oak leaf is added to the Tree of Life in remembrance of each honoree. The Tree of Life is a representation of an oak tree, which symbolizes strength.
The 15th Annual National EMS Memorial Service was held Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26, in Roanoke, Va. On Friday afternoon, EMS personnel fromcoast to coast, and families of the individuals being honored at the memorial service, greeted dozens of bike riders who rode, in teams, from several starting locations around the country to honor the memories of their fallen EMS colleagues.
Sixteen EMS providers who gave the ultimate sacrifice were honored at the 2007 memorial service at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Roanoke. The families of the fallen heroes were presented with a white rose, which signifies undying love. They also receive a medallion with the provider’s name and date of sacrifice; and American flag that were flown over the U.S. capitol. Since the first memorial service in 1992, 334 EMS personnel have been honored.
Those remembered this year included:
- John Buchner was killed when struck by a vehicle at the scene of a call on Interstate 81 in Scranton, Penn. on Nov. 4, 1981.
- Larry Doughton Crouse of Allegheny Co. EMS, Sparta, N.C. died in the line of duty on Dec. 31, 2005 after suffering a cardiac arrest while on duty.
- Eric Collin Hanson of Marble Falls Area EMS, Marble Falls, Texas died in the line of duty on Oct. 10, 2006 of injuries sustained in an ambulance involved motor vehicle collision.
- Doreen Renee Johnson of Air Evac Services Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz. died on Dec. 14, 2004 of injuries received in a medical aviation accident.
- Karl August Kolb of Med Flight Air Ambulance, Albuquerque, N.M. died on Oct. 24, 2004 of injuries received in a medical aviation accident.
- Kristopher John Lamphere of Med Flight Air Ambulance, Albuquerque, N.M. died on Oct. 24, 2004 of injuries received in a medical aviation accident.
- Erin Leah Eachus Reed of Airlift Northwest, Seattle, Wash. died on Sept. 29, 2005 of injuries received in a medical aviation accident.
- Deborah Reeve of Fire Department New York EMS, Bronx, N.Y. died on March 15, 2006 of complications from toxic exposure suffered while working at the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
- Jeremy Douglas Rodecap of Middletown/Fall Creek TWP EMS, Middletown, Ind. died on Dec. 3, 2005 as a result of injuries he sustained in a fall while responding to a call.
- Stephen Moore Smith of Airlift Northwest, Seattle, Wash. died in the line of duty on Sept. 29, 2005 of injuries received in a medical aviation accident.
- Joseph “Joe” Donald Snow of Montgomery County EMS, Clarksville, Tenn. died in the line of duty on May 28, 2006 attempting to reach a victim during a flood water rescue.
- Lois Reiko Suzuki of Airlift Northwest, Seattle, Wash. died in the line of duty on Sept. 29, 2005 of injuries received in a medical aviation accident.
- Marco E. Villalobos of Med Flight Air Ambulance, Albuquerque, N.M. died in the line of duty on Oct. 24, 2004 of injuries received in a medical aviation accident.
- Donald L. Womble and his wife, Laura Ann Womble, were both killed when their Med Flight Learjet Air Ambulance crashed shortly after takeoff from San Diego enroute back to its base in Albuquerque, N.M. on Oct. 24, 2004.
- Karen A. Woods of University LifeLink, Aurora, Colo. died on May 9, 2006 of injuries sustained in an ambulance involved motor vehicle collision.
From the inception of the EMS Memorial Service through the end of April 2006, the Tree of Life was on exhibit at the To The Rescue Museum, also located in Roanoke and operated by the Julian Stanley Wise Foundation.
After a decade of inducting fallen EMS personnel into the EMS Memorial, the National EMS Memorial Service Board of Directors realized that the number of leaves were outgrowing the ability of a single Tree to properly display and maintain the appropriate image. Therefore, a committee of stakeholders from various national EMS organizations was created to develop ideas and recommendations.
It was obvious that a single tree concept was no longer going to be suitable and various ideas were discussed about where to relocate the Memorial when the To The Rescue Museum s facilities could no longer support the Tree of Life. The issue took on new urgency in early April of 2006 when the National EMS Memorial Service was notified by the Julian Stanley Wise Foundation that it had lost its lease on its museum location, had been unable to secure a new location and was forced to shut down the museum indefinitely.
At its annual Board of Directors meeting in May of 2006 the National EMS Memorial Service created a committee to identify possible sites and formats for a new, permanent memorial. In the months that followed, this committee met to organize an effort to create a new memorial and develop the criteria to be used in selecting a site and design based upon the needs of the Memorial Services and its attendees, particularly the families of our honorees. These efforts were concluded in late 2006 and the National EMS Memorial Project was born.
On Dec. 31, 2006 the Project Steering Committee issued a press release announcing this effort to the National EMS Community. The Project is being implemented in four phases:
Phase I: Site Selection and Acquisition
Phase II: Design
Phase III: Fund-raising
Phase IV: Construction
The year 2010 is the National EMS Memorial Project s target date to unveil a permanent EMS Memorial. Phases I and II have commenced concurrently and we are now actively soliciting site proposals and design concepts. Phase III will commence shortly and Phase IV will begin as soon as Phases I & II are completed and Phase III has raised enough money to begin construction.
The National EMS Memorial Project is actively seeking volunteers to help with all aspects of this effort. The group has prepared an open letter to potential volunteers that gives interested parties an understanding of the various areas in which help is needed. Subcommittees are currently being formed to manage the four phases of the Project. To get involved, contact:
National EMS Memorial Project
P.O. Box 6604
Carlstadt, NJ 07072-0604
201-896-3862 – Fax: 201-935-831