Pa. EMT posthumously awarded county's medal of honor
Johnathian Myers was recognized for "distinguished acts of honor and heroism, performed with courage, and without hesitation or regard to their own personal safety"
The Sentinel, Carlisle, Pa.
Cumberland County awards the medal of honor to first responders for "distinguished acts of honor and heroism, performed with courage, and without hesitation or regard to their own personal safety."
On Wednesday evening during the county's annual Fire & EMS Memorial Service, the family of Emergency Medical Technician Johnathian Myers of East Pennsboro Emergency Medical Services received it less than a year following his death.
In addition to the medal, Myers' name was permanently added to the county's EMS memorial plaque, and both his portrait and a wreath were displayed in his honor.
The county said Myers was a life member of Enola Fire Company No. 3, and began his career as a first responder early, running fire calls at 14 years old. He joined East Pennsboro EMS in 2011 where he continued to serve for 10 years.
Last year on Sept. 23, Myers responded to a call during which a patient tested positive for an airborne virus. Though he was wearing the proper personal protective equipment, Myers first showed signs of illness Sept. 27. He received outpatient care and later spent 40 days in the hospital before succumbing to the illness, which officials at the ceremony did not identify. The county said Myers was 40 years old when he died on Nov. 16.
Along with honoring those who have fallen in the line of duty, the Cumberland County Department of Public Safety, Fire Chief and Firefighters Associations honored first responders who have died in the last two years, during Wednesday night's service.
Dave Warren, president of the Cumberland County Fire Chiefs Association, read the names and departments of these individuals.
"Many of the first responders here tonight have personally known one of the EMS providers or firefighters that we are honoring," he said. "We as a family know that we have lost more than good people, we have lost true heroes. We are all keenly aware of each family's loss, and recognize that none of them feel the loss as strongly or painfully as the family. When a fellow first responder passes, we all feel that loss. I am proud of each and every one of our fallen first responders, and join everyone here to ensure that they will never be forgotten."
The ceremony also included a time of prayer, the playing of "Amazing Grace" and "America the Beautiful" on bagpipes and the tolling of a bell in honor of those who have died and their families, all of which happened under a large American flag hanging between two fire engine ladders.
"[From] primitive EMS and fire protection vehicles to state of the art vehicles you see parked around these grounds today, one thing still remains unchanged: regardless of the equipment, the patch on their sleeve and their vehicles, regardless of all the advances, it still takes men and women acting quickly and bravely," Warren said. "Those folks entering buildings and heading on traumatic emergencies that others ... flee know that know fire ever just went out. No traumatic injury just got better simply because a truck showed up with state of the art equipment. It takes people, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of their community."
The service can be viewed online at the Cumberland County Department of Public Safety's Facebook page.
(c)2022 The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.)