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Give your support to a National EMS Memorial

A permanent memorial would create a place of respect to call our own and recognize the efforts of EMS providers across the U.S.

It’s National EMS Week. I’m proud to be an EMS provider; I hope that you are as well.

For decades we have struggled to emerge from the big brother/big sister shadows of our fellow public safety providers in the fire and law enforcement services. While many of us wear dual hats, just as many identify with the Star of Life rather than the Maltese Cross. Not better, not worse, just different orientation and purpose. In the public safety sandbox, we generally get along well, each branch providing niche services that combined, protects the health and welfare of the communities we serve.

In the pursuit of that mission to protect and serve, many providers have paid the ultimate price of losing their lives in the service of others. We commemorate their sacrifice through permanent memorial sites. Police services have the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The fire service has the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. These edifices were built to allow people to pay tribute and respect.

Sadly, no EMS memorial exists. But there is an opportunity to change that.

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) is sponsoring a bill to create a permanent National EMS Memorial in Washington D.C. A memorial would provide EMS providers a place of respect to call their own, and recognize the efforts of the 850,000 EMS providers across the country in providing care, comfort and compassion to the communities they serve. It would be amazing, and humbling, to see an EMS memorial come to life.

What is needed now is YOU. Contact your U.S. Representative and tell them you support H.R. 2274, A Bill to establish a National EMS Memorial. Tell them that you hope they will support it too. It’s only fitting that all of those who protect the health and safety of U.S. citizens be paid equal respect for the work they do. This would be the best gift we can give ourselves for EMS Week 2015.

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of “EMT Exam for Dummies,” has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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