National EMS Memorial Service to move to Virginia

The decision enables NEMSMS to better collaborate and consolidate resources for the annual memorial service that honors fallen EMS providers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The National EMS Memorial Service (NEMSMS), held in Colorado Springs, Colo. since June 2010, will transition its location to Virginia effective with the memorial service in 2016. Prior to 2010, the NEMSMS had been held in Virginia, where it was founded, for over 15 years. The announcement of the move was made today by the NEMSMS board of directors.

According to Jana Williams, president of NEMSMS, the decision was prompted by the board's desire to unify and consolidate efforts by several groups wanting to honor fallen EMS providers.

"After many thoughtful and collaborative discussions with our EMS partner organizations, the board voted to move to Virginia," she said. "This change will enable NEMSMS to strengthen its focus on what we do best, which is planning and executing a meaningful memorial service and supporting the families who lost a loved one in the line of duty."
"The state of Colorado and the city of Colorado Springs, particularly the citizens and volunteers in the EMS community, have been so supportive of the National EMS Memorial Service and we can't thank them enough for their gracious hospitality, their spirit of cooperation and their compassion for EMS families during the past five years," continued Williams. "It has been a privilege to hold the NEMSMS in such a breathtaking setting." Williams noted that the June 2015 service will take place in Colorado Springs.
The National EMS Memorial Service traces its beginnings to the early 1990s in Virginia, when several members of the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads (VAVRS) wanted to recognize EMS providers who sacrificed their lives while in service to save others. Held in Roanoke, Va., for many years before going to Colorado Springs, the inspirational memorial service includes an Honor Guard, a National Moment of Silence, a special presentation to the families and a tribute video, among other uplifting remembrances, before concluding with a flyover by air medical agencies.
"We support the decision by the National EMS Memorial Service to move to Virginia," said Steven Sweeney, co-founder and board chair of the Air Medical Memorial in Littleton, Colo. "It allows the NEMSMS to take advantage of significant efforts already underway in that area-a win for everyone. We look forward to attending their impressive ceremony in Virginia in 2016."
Sweeney noted that Colorado will continue to be the home of the Air Medical Memorial<> "We are proud that several significant memorial events to honor fallen first responders will remain in Colorado," he said.
"The Virginia Office of EMS has been an ardent supporter of the National EMS Memorial Service since its inception," said Gary R. Brown, director, Virginia Office of EMS. "We are excited about the decision of the NEMSMS board of directors to return to Virginia and we continue to support its mission to honor EMS providers who have died in the line of duty."
Randy Kuykendall, director, Health Facilities and EMS Division for the State of Colorado, also expressed support for the NEMSMS to return to its roots in Virginia. "We are proud to have hosted the NEMSMS for the last several years," he said. "However, we support the move and applaud the goal to consolidate duplicative efforts and increase collaboration amongst the many groups that seek to honor our fallen EMS professionals. We are proud that the history of the NEMSMS includes a chapter in Colorado and we will continue to support the efforts in Virginia."
"It is heartening to see the collaborative efforts that have transpired recently to enhance the service. This builds on the foundation created over 20 years ago to honor our fallen EMS providers," said Kevin Dillard, founder of NEMSMS. "Each year, the memorial service holds a special place in the hearts of all EMS providers and their families."
"For over two decades, the National EMS Memorial Service has offered comfort, created lasting memories and paid honor to families whose loved one made the ultimate sacrifice," concluded Jana Williams. "Our future memorial ceremonies in Virginia will certainly build on the rich traditions established during our very special stay in Colorado Springs."

The National EMS Memorial Service was established to remember and honor those emergency medical services personnel who have died in the line of duty and to recognize the ultimate sacrifice they have made for their fellow man. An all-volunteer effort, the NEMSMS is held annually on the fourth Saturday in June. 

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