JULY 3, 2023Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) honored the lives of 59 fallen EMS first responders during a special ceremony Monday in Oklahoma City.

As members of the public prepared for the Fourth of July, EMSA medics and representatives took time to honor the sacrifice made by 59 medics from across the country.

A procession by the National EMS Memorial Service to recognize EMS medics who were killed in the line of duty stopped at EMSA’s Oklahoma City headquarters.

Although there isn’t a permanent memorial for fallen EMS first responders, the National EMS Memorial Foundation created the procession to honor their lives and their commitment to their communities.

“They realized other first responders had memorials set up for the police and fire but not for EMS. So they decided to get together and start a memorial, solely for EMS providers,” said Jim Vitaletti, Board Director for National EMS Memorial Service.

The National EMS Memorial Foundation created a traveling a memorial called the ‘Tree of Life.’ The ‘Tree of Life’ is a representation of an oak tree with the name, agency, and date of each honoree engraved on a bronze leaf.

This year, 59 EMS first responders are being honored as part of the procession.

Vitaletti says the procession, which travels from California to Washington, D.C., serves as a reminder to families that their loved ones are not forgotten.

“They realize people do care about them, and care that they lost their loved ones,” Vitaletti said.

During the event, EMSA’s Honor Guard presented the colors and presented members of the foundation with a token of appreciation.

“When EMSA learned the Moving Honors procession would be in Oklahoma City, we knew we wanted to host them,” said EMSA Chief Public Affairs Officer Adam Paluka, “EMS is a vital part of America, and the sacrifices of these EMS Professionals need to commemorated.”

Last year, the National EMS Memorial Service honored EMSA paramedic Debbie Rusher with a leaf on the Tree of Life. Rusher died at a Tulsa hospital after contracting COVID-19 in 2020.