Remembering paramedic, educator and EMS advocate Richard Beebe

The impact of Beebe's life work will live on in the students he trained and the service he provided to the National Association of EMS Educators and CECBEMS

We asked EMS1 editorial advisors, contributors and leaders from NAEMSE and CECBEMS to share remembrances of Richard Beebe. 

Sadly, EMS lost one of our best. Richard Beebe succumbed to injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash. Beebe was a force in the education arena. He believed in what we do as paramedics. He inspired thousands of EMTs and paramedics. He inspired EMS leaders across the globe.

I’m lucky to have known Beebe.

We are all lucky to be a part of EMS. Search out our industry’s best providers, educators, writers and thinkers. Become friends with them. Ask questions and listen to their answers.

Richard Beebe
Richard Beebe (Image courtesy NAEMSE)

The industry’s best aren’t found only in the largest cities. They aren’t just in the areas with the highest call volumes. They are found at sea level. They are found at the mountain summit. They are paid. They are volunteers. Some have 40 or more years of experience. Many are brand new.

When I make connections in EMS, I’m not looking for the strongest or loudest. I’m not looking for the smartest. I’m not looking for the most experienced. Nope. I’m on a constant quest to find the best people.

Beebe was one of our best. Read remembrances and tributes to Beebe from his many friends in EMS. Join me and many others in celebrating Rich's impact on EMS as a paramedic, educator, speaker, author and board member for the National Association of EMS Educators and the CECBEMS.

You may find that you are practicing medicine differently because of Rich.  

Passionate force for good
I had the good fortune to meet Rich in our early days teaching in New York 30 years ago. Rich was a passionate paramedic and educator who made an imprint on all of the EMS providers who practice in the Capital District and beyond. Rich continued to expand his reach through textbooks and board positions in formative national organizations. Whether it was in memorable one-on-one conversations or at a conference where he could frequently be seen holding court with groups of attendees and speakers, the world of EMS has lost a passionate and true force for good.

Daniel Limmer
Co- Founder & Chief Pass-ologist
Limmer Creative

Joyful spirit and contributor
Richard Beebe was an imposing figure, and I was intimidated by him the first time we met, because he towered over me, and because I knew the depth of his influence on the EMS profession. That intimidation disappeared after about two seconds as he began talking and his joyful spirit put a smile on the face of everyone in the room.

Over the years my respect for him has grown as I have witnessed his contributions to NAEMSE and CECBEMS, his passion for EMS, and his love of life and everyone around him. He contributed thoughtfully to every conversation, on any topic and he possessed the charm to be able to speak the truth bluntly, but in a winsome way that truly showed that he had everyone's best interests at heart.

All of the accolades that could be used to describe a great colleague and friend would apply to Rich. I will truly miss him and his absence will be especially tangible at future CECBEMS meetings.

Robert Wales
International Program Development Manager
International Emergency Cardiovascular Care

Passion for EMS and good company
For most who knew Richard Beebe he was just a big giant teddy bear with a big smile. Yet for EMS educators we knew his passion for education, sometimes saw that Rich could quickly turn into a grizzly bear to make sure things were done right. We, the CECBEMS Board of Directors, have gotten to know him well over the past six years and will miss his passion for EMS education, his input and his guidance.

On a personal note several of us on the CECBEMS Board had dinner with him in Washington DC during the NASEMSO meeting just two months ago. We ate family style at an Italian restaurant. Rich always promoted the antioxidant effects of blueberries after a big steak dinner. The fact that blueberries tasted so good was just an added plus. We did not eat steak that night in DC, but we still asked if they had blueberry pie for dessert knowing full well they did not. I am sure Rich is looking down on us today, holding a fork with a big piece of blueberry pie.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during difficult time.

Juan March, MD, FACEP
Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine
Chief, Division of EMS
Brody School of Medicine
East Carolina University

Energetic, charter member of NAEMSE
Richard Beebe was one of the most energetic, passionate men I have worked with at NAEMSE. He was as big as life and has left a positive legacy, not just in New York, but across the United States and Canada. Richard was one of 280 Charter members of NAEMSE and served the association membership in many capacities as a committee member, committee chair, association liaison and board of director and most recently vice president of the association.

A famous philosopher stated that "The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living". We will always remember our friend Richard Beebe.

Joann Freel, BS, CMP
Executive Director, NAEMSE

Educator, coach and supporter
I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with and taught alongside of Rich Beebe. I will never forget my first experience watching him teach. It was clear that he had a passion for excellent patient care and for the well-being of the EMS providers that he taught. 

I was also struck with his ability to speak, entertain and clearly communicate his message. The worst part of that day for me was that I had to present the lecture immediately following his. I kept wondering how the students would find me remotely interesting after listening to Rich. After my lecture, however, it was Rich who approached me first to congratulate me on my presentation and ask me questions. He was always the coach and went out of his way to support everyone he could.  

As a CECBEMS board of director, his insights, thoughts and passions were invaluable. We’ve lost a mentor, a teacher, a leader and a friend. His presence will be sorely missed. 

Jay M. Scott
Executive Director, CECBEMS

When Giants Fall
I did not know Richard well. I didn’t have to ― so many others have spoken of Richard’s dedication to the art of EMS, the love for his students and his contributions to the profession. That speaks volumes, and has far greater meaning than anything I could say. Richard’s passing serves as a sober, yet wonderful reminder of just how small the world of EMS is. In the encounters I had with him, I imagine that he would want this to serve as a reminder that the ties that bind us are stronger than the conflicts that try to divide. May you rest in peace Richard; EMS is better from having had you in its midst.

Art Hsieh
Editorial Advisor, EMS1
Program Director, Paramedic Academy
Santa Rosa Junior College

Lasting Legacy
I don’t remember the first time I met Richard Beebe, but I do know that after I had met him once, I was thrilled to see him enter any room. He was the big heart, the booming laugh and the twinkling center of every conversation. People gravitated toward him and I was always touched to be included in his ranks, often singled out as he made everyone feel welcome and special, a feeling I know was shared by anyone in his class, at his dinner table, or at any gathering. 

He was an instigating partner in crime to any harmless joke and I felt success when I made him laugh. Rich was a teacher, mentor and friend to so many. As an educator he has no doubt shaped the lives of many EMS personnel locally and nationally. 

I feel a hole in the world as large as a bear, as deep as that booming laugh and as long lasting as the legacy of EMS Education, excellence, compassion and commitment that Rich has left.

Betsy Duckworth
President, New England Center for Rescue & Emergency Medicine LLC

Educator, colleague, mentor and friend
I had the honor of being introduced by Rich the first time that I spoke at a conference in New York that he coordinated with Mike McEvoy. I had only just met Rich, but he introduced me like we had been pals for years. It was much more than I deserved.

Rich was just like that, generous and giving as a person and as an educator. We did become pals and I learned, as many others already knew, that Rich was always excited to teach, whether it was in a classroom, at a conference or a great conversation over dinner.

The next time I saw Rich was at a conference in Virginia and he greeted me from across the room like we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years, rather than new friends who had just seen each other a couple of months ago. Rich was amazing educator, colleague, mentor and friend. While there will be no replacement for Rich in our lives, his influence on the profession of EMS will endure.

Rom Duckworth, LP
Fire Captain / EMS Coordinator, Ridgefield (Conn.) Fire Department

Champion for what’s right
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, "The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically … Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education."

Richard Beebe was a very intelligent man who was deeply committed to teaching his students to think, but even more importantly, Rich had an unwavering character to champion what was right, even when that made him unpopular. That personal character is the true education. The true legacy that Rich leaves behind with all of us that he has touched.

James Dinsch, MS, NRP
EMS Department Chair & Program Director
Indian River State College
NAEMSE board of directors

Memories will live on in others
I have known and respected Richard for many years as a friend, co-author, board member of NAEMSE, co-instructor in Instructor Level one courses and several other EMS Related functions! Richard will be sorely missed and his memory will live on through his family, students and all those he touched in his life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family in this extremely difficult time. God Bless

Joe Grafft, past president

What a cigar can teach
Rich's friendship brought with it cigars. He always had a compliment of them, ready to offer to all who were present. His goal was not to get you smoking, but to get you talking about EMS education and its future. It was through these cigar discussions, that he taught me that it was all right to challenge the EMS education norms and to think outside of the box. It is through his teachings that I developed and formed my philosophical approach to instructional design.

Rich will be sorely missed, but his memory and teachings will always be there. The bar for education has been set higher because of Rich and it is up to the rest of us to not allow it to be lowered. We must keep raising that bar ever higher if we want the professional recognition that we so desire.

Godspeed Rich and save a cigar for the rest of us for when we meet once again. 

Kyle David Bates, MS, NR-P
Founder and Chairman
First Few Moments, inc.


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