HARRISBURG – Today, the Pennsylvania EMS Provider Foundation held its 10th Annual EMS Memorial Day Service at the State Capitol, according to Senator Mike Regan (R-31), Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, during which he presented a copy of a Senate Resolution declaring EMS Memorial Day in Pennsylvania.
EMS Memorial Day is held each year to remember and honor those emergency medical services (EMS) personnel who have died in the line of duty and to recognize the ultimate sacrifice they have made for their fellow man. Last week, the Senate adopted Senate Resolution 353, introduced by Senator Regan along with Senators Pam Iovino, Camera Bartolotta, and Wayne Langerholc, officially designating September 14, 2020, as EMS Memorial Day in the Commonwealth.
Quoting President Abraham Lincoln, Regan noted, “‘Next to creating a life, the finest thing a man can do is save one.’” He continued, “For the men and women here today, that is exactly what you do day in and day out. And sadly, it is what the men and women we are honoring today died doing. For that, we are eternally grateful. Grateful not just for their sacrifice but for their selfless service to their community, to their neighbors, and to friends and strangers alike.”
Since its inception, the PA EMS Provider Foundation has remembered the lives of 61 EMS personnel who perished in the line of duty. This year, two more names were added to the list — Pennsylvania paramedics Theodore Dymus (Veterans Memorial Ambulance Service, Northern Cambria) and Matthew Smelser (Rostraver-West Newton Emergency Medical Services, Belle Vernon) died while responding to emergencies.
Senator Iovino (D-37), Minority Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, stated, “Since 2013, 63 Pennsylvania EMS personnel have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities. That’s 63 families made forever incomplete, and 63 communities who have forever lost valued citizens and dedicated public servants. These families and communities, however, can find some solace in knowing that these heroes gave their lives in pursuit of something bigger than themselves. We remember and honor their selflessness and sacrifice.”
Senator Bartolotta (R-46) expressed in regard to Matthew Smelser, who was her constituent, “In his 24 years of service, he touched countless lives and contributed immeasurably to the health and safety of the southwestern Pennsylvania communities he served. His passing was a true loss, not only for those who knew and loved him, but for the entire community.”
Senator Langerholc (R-35) stated in regard to his constituent Theodore Dybus, who dedicated his life to serving others, “He was a paramedic with the Veterans Ambulance Service in Northern Cambria County, a Medic for the John Carroll EMS and Med-Van Transport and a Vintondale Police Officer. I can think of no better way to pay tribute to those individuals like Mr. Dybus, who answered the call without hesitation, knowing the danger of the job but chose to do it anyway. Too often the service of these men and women are taken for granted and I hope that in some way this day will highlight the sacrifice they have made for others.”
In conjunction with the EMS Memorial Day Service, members of the PA EMS Provider Foundation held a bike ride to the service in honor of their fallen brothers and sisters.
Senator Regan’s Remarks
EMS Memorial Day Service
CONTACT: Nate Silcox, Sen. Regan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colleen Greer, Sen. Bartolotta, email@example.com
Josh Fleitman, Sen. Iovino, Josh.Fleitman@pasenate.com
Gwenn Dando, Sen. Langerholc, firstname.lastname@example.org