Fallen Pa. EMS members remembered during National EMS Memorial Service visit
The National EMS Memorial Service stopped in North Huntingdon to remember fallen EMTs, paramedics
By Joe Napsha
NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. — Pietro Manno was overcome with emotion Monday during an EMS Memorial Service as he took identification tags engraved with the name of his son, Fred Manno.
The North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue paramedic died almost a year ago after suffering a cardiac arrest while tending to a patient.
Pietro Manno of Penn Hills was supported by his daughter, Donna Manno, as he received the tags from Thomas Anthony, a fellow member of North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue, during an hourlong service at North Huntingdon’s Oak Hollow Park.
“It was just incredible. It was such a moving tribute,” said Donna Manno, about the service honoring her brother, who went into cardiac arrest July 19, 2022, and died 11 days later on July 30.
“He left his mark on so many of you,” said William Semple, a paramedic for Allegheny Health Network and a board member for the National EMS Memorial, said of his friend, Fred Manno.
The event honored the memory and service of Manno and three other Southwestern Pennsylvania personnel who died in the line of duty last year: Andrew L. Beck, 23, of Norvelt, an emergency medical technician with Kecksburg EMS, who died Jan. 22; Mark Ellis, 64, of Plum, an EMT with the Renton Volunteer Fire Department, who died Oct. 18; and Nicholas Theofilis, 23, of Penn Hills, a Penn Hills paramedic, who died in an ambulance accident in Pittsburgh on Nov. 27.
“The impact from their loss resounded deeply in our EMS community,” Shane Spielvogle, executive director of North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue, told 150 fellow EMS members and police who gathered for the event. Almost 100 years of emergency medical service was lost as a result of their loss, Spielvogle said.
“We lost the ability to lean on them when we needed their support.”
Those members who have passed strained to provide emergency medical service to those in need on a 24-hour basis, Spielvogle said.
“We put our lives on the line every day,” said Brian Shaw, deputy director for EMS West, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit that provides technical and financial assistance to develop coordinated emergency medical services in Western Pennsylvania.
Recalling Theofilis’ passion for his duties dedication to the community, Diane Fitzhenry, Penn Hills EMS supervisor, said Theofilis worked for Vandergrift, as well as White Oak and Penn Hills.
“His dream to become a EMT became a reality,” Fitzhenry said.
In addition to his EMS duties, he found time to be a firefighter for the Churchill Fire Department.
“He donated his blood, sweat and tears to the community. He lived a very full life in those 23 years,” Fitzhenry said.
Among those in attendance were about two dozen EMS bicyclists who participated in a national memorial bike ride that covered 6,800 miles in 25 states this year. The bike riders will travel by car to Crystal City, Va., for the national memorial service Saturday. There, the 59 emergency medical service personnel who died in the line of duty in 2022 will be remembered.
The National EMS Memorial Service and Weekend of Honor, in conjunction with the National EMS Memorial Foundation, seeks to raise money for a permanent memorial in Washington, D.C., organizers said.
“Our mission is to support the families and never forget,’ said Shaw, president of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride board of directors.