An effort is underway to establish a permanent memorial for EMS personnel who die in the line of duty.
Finding a suitable location for the memorial is the top priority, says Kevin Agard, a National EMS Memorial Service board member and project chairman.
"A few communities have indicated they would be interested," Agard says, adding that he wasn't at liberty to disclose those locations right now.
The nation's firefighters who give the ultimate sacrifice are honored on a memorial on the grounds of the National Fire Academy in Maryland. It's been a dream of EMS officials to have a similar tribute.
EMS personnel killed in the line of duty are currently remembered during an annual service in Roanoke, VA, during EMS Week. The entire event, hosted by volunteers, was recognized by Congress in 1998 as the nation's official site.
The names of the fallen are engraved on brass oak leaves and usually displayed during the event on an artificial tree. In 2006, the brass leaves were displayed on a wall.
Suggestions for the memorial location and for design concepts that include the "Tree of Life" theme should be sent to the National EMS Memorial Project, PO Box 6604, Carlstadt, NJ 07072-0604. There is no deadline for suggestions, but the earlier they are received, the better.
Requirements for the memorial site will include location within a 60-minute drive of a major hub airport and within 10-15 minutes of large hotels. The location must also be a reasonably level and accessible property with access to utilities. Finally, the location will need to be suitable for quiet reflection and remembrance, nearby to houses of worship.
The site selection and design phases are running simultaneously to get the project rolling. "We thought it was best to get those things definite before we start fund-raising," Agard says.
Decisions regarding the memorial's construction will be made with the heroes' families in mind.
The committee's goal is to have the project completed in time for the 2010 memorial service.
The annual memorial service this year is set for Saturday, May 26 in Roanoke, VA. During the service, each family is presented with a U.S. flag that was flown over the Capitol, a white rose and a medallion bearing their hero's name and sacrifice.
Anyone interested in being part of the EMS Memorial committee should contact Agard at email@example.com.