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10 ways first responders are being honored around the U.S.

From memorial statues to challenge coins, first responders are feeling the love from states around the country


By Shelbie Watts, EMS1 Editorial Assistant

It's not hard to believe that the United States honors its heroic firefighter in several ways. In honor of EMS Week, we took a look at how EMS providers, firefighters and police officers are being recognized throughout the country.

From memorial statues to challenge coins, here are 10 ways first responders have received a big “thank you” from their communities.

1. United States Postal Service stamp

A newly-released stamp by the United States Postal Service honors “the men and women – including firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical service professionals – who respond to critical situations with skill, dedication and uncommon bravery.”

The stamp shows three responders facing action, standing in front of a background of smoke that is supposed to depict “the wide range of situations that demand the immediate attention of a first responder.”

2. License plates

A special license plate honoring first responders in Massachusetts has an extra benefit of helping with funding.

The plate features a state trooper’s hat and says “Protect and serve” along the bottom, and all funds collected from the purchasing of the license plate go to support EMS providers, firefighters and police officers in times of need.

3. Tribute walls

In an effort to pay tribute to firefighters who battled deadly wildfires in 2016, a tribute wall titled “For Those Who Answered the Call” debuted in 2016 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

The wall is made of stainless steel, weighs 4,400 pounds and stands 10 feet tall. It features images of the Great Smoky Mountains and first responders inside of a heart.

“If you had not been here and we hadn’t had that rain, we don’t know what would have happened to our little town,” Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster said about the Nov. 28, 2016 blaze.

4. America's Response Monument

Also known as the Horse Soldier Statue, the memorial is dedicated to first responders, as well as veterans and service members, and overlooks the World Trade Center memorial.

“The statue marks both tragedy and triumph,” Sons of the American Legion member Bruce Mosler said when the monument was unveiled in 2016.

5. California Firefighters Memorial

The California Firefighters Memorial is described as “a lasting tribute to the men and women who gave their lives to protect their fellow Californians” and includes a wall filled with the names of more than 1,300 firefighters who died in the line of duty in California since 1850.

6. Sonoma County challenge coins

As a way to say “thank you” for responders’ efforts during the Oct. 2017 wildfires, commemorative coins were unveiled by local officials and given to the men and women who defended the community against the flames.

One side of the coin depicts the names of the various fires that burned through the area, and the other side shows symbols of paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement with the message “Sonoma Strong.”

7. Idaho's Hall of Honor

A hall inside of Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department is filled with recognition of the first responders who work to save lives in the area.

The Hall of Honor was revealed in 2016 as a way to celebrate first responders and their hard work.

“They wanted to set it up to celebrate the work of the team as a whole and the team being bigger than just the ER staff,” EIRMC spokesperson Jessica Clements said.

8. "Uncommon Courage" tour

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum now includes a 60-minute tour that shares the stories of first responders and the role they played on 9/11.

“Uncommon Courage: First Responders on 9/11” walks visitors through the museum and tells the heroic stories of responders who took part in the largest mobilization of emergency personnel in American history.

“Uncommon Courage: First Responders on 9/11” walks visitors through the museum and tells the heroic stories of responders who took part in the largest mobilization of emergency personnel in American history. (Photo/911memorial.org)

9. Mass. appreciation overpass

On May 15, the Route 149 overpass in Massachusetts was renamed the “First Responders Appreciation Overpass” as a way to honor responders for their selfless acts.

A ceremony was held to commemorate the bridge, and a new flagpole was put in place in the center of the rotary.

10. Wash. Eagle Scout first responders memorial

Two Eagle Scout candidates devoted their time to creating a first responder memorial that was recently unveiled in Elma, Wash.

The memorial features the names of all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the county and is dedicated to all first responders in the area.

“This memorial was an Eagle Scout project of two scouts from Troop 14 of Elma: Evan Werner and Matt Kimbrel,” said Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers, one of many local law enforcement officers who attended the ceremony. “As a fellow Eagle Scout, I am very proud of my nephew Matt and all the dedicated work on this memorial.”

The memorial features the names of all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the county and is dedicated to all first responders in the area. (Photo/Hoquiam Police Dept.)

 

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