GMR hosted the Inaugural Ceremony for the National EMS Memorial Service (NEMSMS) and the 2021 National EMS Weekend of Honor Moving Honors procession launch on July 16 at GMR offices in Lewisville, TX. The NEMSMS, the National EMS Memorial Foundation, and the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride paid tribute to 144 EMS and air medical fallen providers from 39 states during the 2021 National EMS Weekend of Honor, July 23–25 in Arlington, VA.
Below, Randy Lyman, National EMS Memorial Service Board Member and GMR Northwest Region President, shares the significance of the National EMS Memorial Service events.
“Every year we honor and celebrate the memories of our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives in the line of their EMS duties. I have the honor of sitting on the Board of Directors for the NEMSMS and, this year, we have the task of combining the last two events due to the cancellation of the 2020 events. As part of the process, and our ongoing research to recognize additional fallen colleagues, there are more honorees this year than ever.
The NEMSMS lists include the 2019 and 2020 plus 72 past EMS fallen dating back as far as 1895. Many volunteers contributed to the research and vetting efforts to ensure the fallen are never forgotten.
This year has special meaning to me personally, as we also are honoring our Juneau, AK, crew that was lost in January of 2019. While, for me, this carries a personal connection, I know every death brings with it numerous people who go through the unthinkable.
Losing a loved one, friend or colleague during the course of their duties adds an emotional toll to the already difficult process of mourning. Several members of the GMR leadership team joined me in Virginia for the services. Our hope is that events like this can help celebrate our fallen heroes’ lives as we honor their memories and sacrifices. While we can’t all attend in person, I urge you to take some time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of these individuals in your own way.
The countdown to the National EMS Memorial Service and Weekend of Honor started July 16, with the Moving Honors procession. It featured an ambulance carrying a custom-built Tree of Life , a representation of an oak tree symbolizing strength. The name, agency, and date of loss of each 2019 and 2020 National EMS Memorial Service honoree is engraved on a bronze oak leaf on the tree, and was revealed when we arrived in Arlington, VA. A temporary tree replica was displayed throughout the Moving Honors procession. The Tree of Life was designed and built as a temporary National EMS Memorial by our GMR teammates Jennifer and Tom Liebman.
From Texas, the ambulance made multiple stops at several locations across the country, including Chattanooga, Nashville, Roanoke and New York, so that EMS personnel and residents could view a full size replica of the tree and pay their respects to the fallen. The Moving Honors procession was met in Arlington on July 23 by the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride’s Ride of Honor. As the legacy sponsor of NEMSMS, National EMS Memorial Service Honor Guard in Arlington, VA GMR was humbled and honored to support the launch of the Tree of Life vehicle on July 16. Thank you for all that you do, day-in and day-out to serve your communities and patients.”
[This story originally appeared in The Parascope, the AMR newsletter]