NATIONAL EMS MEMORIAL SERVICE 2022

By Edward Marasco, MPM, CMTE, EMT-P (ret.)*

 

REMEMBERING . . .

In Remembrance With Rose

The National EMS Memorial Service, the National EMS Memorial Foundation and the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride will pay tribute to 72 EMS and air medical fallen first responders from 26 states across the United States during the 2022 National EMS Weekend of Honor. There are 72 Honorees in 2022. The majority of the Honorees passed away in 2020 and 2021. 

As I reviewed the list, it was striking to note these trends:

  • We are still losing brothers and sisters from complications associated with the response to 9/11. The scars for our country from that day are deep enough, but we are continuously reminded of the great toll that event with the ongoing losses.
  • More than half of the Honorees died as a result of COVID-19, an ongoing reminder of the tremendous toll this disease has amassed.

In both of these situations, these brave men and women made a conscious decision to help others at great risk to themselves. All of the Honorees chose this profession and dedicated their lives to it. 

We owe it to them, their families, and their memory to honor them and celebrate their lives of service.

THE EVENTS OF THE WEEKEND . . .

The tribute is scheduled to take place on July 22-24, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, located in Arlington Virginia.

On Friday afternoon, July 22, 2022, the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride’s Ride of Honor will escort the Moving Honor’s ambulance to the hotel where the families will be waiting. Then follows the unveiling ceremony of the EMS Tree of Life, the temporary National EMS Memorial, and a presentation of dog tags to the families. 

Saturday evening, July 23, 2022, at 1700 hours, the National EMS Memorial Service, a formal ceremony to honor fallen EMS and air medical professionals, will be held. Here families ceremoniously receive national commemoratives during commendations that include honor guard salutes and pipe and drum observances.

THE FAMILIES . . .

While we honor the fallen, we cannot lose sight of the tremendous loss experienced by their families. There are several activities over the weekend designed to help the families cope with the loss and celebrate the lives of the Honorees. A number of years ago, at the Service, I was struck by the words of BJ Finney. BJ had lost his father in the line of duty. He stood before a room filled with the families of other Honorees, invited guests, and Memorial Service volunteers and shared his thoughts about the man who was his loving father, his role model, his friend, and his coach. He and his father shared a dream that he might one day play in the NFL. That very morning before he addressed the room, BJ received word that the dream had been realized with his offer to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was seven years ago, and I can still remember the mix of emotions . . . the great pride in accomplishing something he and his father worked for AND the sadness that his father was not present to enjoy the news.

We recognize the Honorees but must never underestimate the loss of the families who are left behind. We honor their contribution as well.

THE VOLUNTEERS . . .

Lastly, I would be remiss not to recognize the hundreds of VOLUNTEERS from all across our great nation who give of their time, energy, and love to make this weekend a reality. It is a labor of love and commitment to those we have lost. It is an exhausting and emotional period leading up to and through the weekend for all of these fine professionals.

 

*Ed Marasco is QMC’s Vice-President of Business Development and a veteran healthcare provider and administrator with over 40 years of experience in emergency medical services, reimbursement, and consulting.

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