HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Honoring emergency medical service personnel is not done enough, according to National EMS Memorial Foundation.
The group made sure crews and their fallen were not forgotten in North Alabama on Thursday in a ceremony held outside U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
“I appreciate and value every EMS, fire, police, every first responder in the state of Alabama,” Alabama EMS director Jamie Gray told News 19. “Obviously I’m biased to the EMS profession but we’re all vitally important.”
The multi-state procession of this year’s ‘Tree of Life’ memorial for the organization made its way through North Alabama, remembering 72 EMS members while en route to its national ceremony in Arlington, Va. next week.
“I ask you to honor them by looking around, looking who’s to your right and who’s to your left, and pledge to take care of each other. That’s the best way you can honor these 72 individuals,” National EMS Memorial Vice President Rachel Tester said.
For Madison resident Liz Cernadas, the unity brought comfort after losing her daughter Stacey in a tragic helicopter accident as an Air EMS nurse in 2016.
“To see [the memorial] actually come through here, and just knowing that it’s helping so many other people because we actually know what they’re going through – it’s a very tough and emotional time for them,” Cernadas said. “And just to see the dedication that they’re putting into this, it really does bring it home for us.”
The EMS Memorial hopes to raise enough for a permanent memorial in Washington D.C. in the coming years.
“Lives in the line of duty are invaluable to the remembrance of what we do and why we do it,” Gray said.