By ALFREDO ALVARADO
Thousands of emergency medical technicians around the country will be honored during National EMS Week for the critical work they do saving lives. The week of activities for the annual event begins May 20 -26.
In New York City EMT Yadira Arroyo was one of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arroyo, a member of Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics of the FDNY Local 2507, was run over last year with her own ambulance by a deranged man. EMT Kellan Squire works at Station 17 in the Bronx and occasionally shared a tour with Arroyo. “We were in shock when we heard the news,” said Squire. “She was well respected by her colleagues and the people in her community.”
EMT Squire began his career in Miami before moving to New York City. “You can’t compare the number of calls you get in Miami to New York,” said the Florida native. Squire is part of the Counter Terrorism Task Force and was one of the first persons on the scene last year at Bronx Lebanon Hospital when a disgruntled doctor who was fired from his job came back to the hospital with a loaded gun. “He killed another person and himself,” recalled Squire of the deadly attack.
Like Arroyo, Lt. Joy Garcia was raised in the Bronx and growing up she noticed the paramedics and EMTs in her neighborhood. “I associated them with fixing things,” recalled Garcia, who is a member of Uniformed EMS Officers Local 3621. “EMTs were always busy in our community helping people.”
When she became an EMT her first assignment was at Station 14 at Lincoln Hospital, the same Bronx hospital Garcia was born in. When she was promoted to lieutenant she moved to Station 16 in Harlem and later to a station in Chinatown. That’s when she decided to learn Mandarin. “I learned enough to get my message across,” said Garcia.
Members of Local 3621 and 2507 have been doing their part to raise funds for the National EMS Memorial Fund. A percentage of the on-line tickets sales for an upcoming Mets against Miami baseball game at Citi Field will go to the fund. “This is just one way to help our brothers and sisters who have died on the job serving their community,” said Squire, whose wife Soraya is also an EMT.
Their annual fundraiser at Citi Field is a 15-year tradition.
During the weekend leading up to EMS Week, there will also be the 2018 National EMS Weekend of Honor in Maryland which will pay tribute to the EMS personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.