2017 Honoree Yuji Irie | American Medflight

Captain Yuji Irie, of American Medflight in Elko, Nevada, died November 18, 2016, while working as an EMS pilot, transporting a critically ill patient on an American Medflight aircraft when it crashed killing four people.

Yuji was a Japanese immigrant to the United States. He had become a skilled and well-respected pilot, flying for companies from Las Vegas to the Mariana Islands in the South Pacific.

He planned to finish out his career flying with American Medflight because he loved helping people who were in need of critical care transport.

Yuji dreamed of building his own airplane and flying it across the Pacific to Japan. He was able to build his airplane. It sits in his son’s garage in Las Vegas.

2017 Honoree Sandra Cline | Mercy Health LifeStar Ambulance

Paramedic Sandra Cline, 45, of Mercy Health LifeStar Ambulance in Ohio, died September 23, 2016.

Cline was the driver of an ambulance transporting a patient to an extended care facility on September 22, 2016. En route to the facility, the ambulance was hit by another vehicle that failed to stop at a stop sign.

She was airlifted to Mercy St. Vincent trauma center but ultimately succumbed to her injuries on September 23, 2016.

Cline was a paramedic for 25 years with Mercy Health LifeStar, and was known to enjoy the outdoors and time spent with her family.

2017 Honoree Stacy Cernadas | Haynes Life Flight

Flight nurse Stacy Cernadas died in a medical helicopter crash March 26, 2016, along with pilot Chad Hammond, 29, flight medic Jason Snipes, 34, and patient Zach Strickland.

The chopper crashed in the predawn hours of that Saturday in Goodman, about 80 miles south of Montgomery, after picking up Strickland from the scene of a highway crash. The aircraft was found in a heavily wooded and marshy area. The helicopter had been called after a motorist struck a ditch and a utility pole in a one-car accident around 11 p.m. Friday, March 25.

The helicopter was reported missing at 12:17 a.m. Saturday, March 26, and the wreckage was later discovered about a half-mile from the scene of the vehicle crash.

Cernadas was trained as a firefighter, paramedic, and registered nurse. She embodied all aspects of EMS in her community. Cernadas had been a flight nurse since September 2015.

Born in Huntsville but raised in Georgia, she was also a trauma nurse in Montgomery and a former flight attendant for a major airline traveling internationally.

“Stacey had a larger than life personality and had many, many friends all around the U.S.,” her father said at the time. “I can tell you that while we are extremely saddened by today’s events, we are immensely proud of Stacey. She loved more than anything being a flight nurse and helping those in critical need.”

2017 Honoree Hannah Callahan | Kings County Hospital

Hannah Callahan, 50, died December 3, 1954, in the line of duty as a Kings County Hospital Ambulance Attendant.

Callahan was shot after an emotionally disturbed man grabbed the firearm of an escorting police officer. The man shot and killed both Callahan and the police officer. He was then shot to death by another officer in response.

Unfortunately, only nearly-unreadable microfilm of the articles written about the event surrounding Callahan’s death remain. A headline revealed, “2nd Patrolman Fells Patient Trying to Escape Ambulance.”

2017 Honoree Clarence W. Barrow | The Roosevelt Hospital

Clarence W. Barrow, 27, of Orange, New Jersey, an Ambulance Surgeon at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan, New York, was killed while on duty November 27, 1905, when his ambulance was struck by a car at 6th Street and 5th Avenue, and he was thrown from the ambulance, striking his head, according to the New York Times.

“A ponderous sightseeing automobile struck the ambulance, which contained a woman patient, the driver, and a doctor,” the New York Times article reads in part. “The surgeon was thrown to the pavement and his skull fractured. He died within 10 minutes.” The New York Times released further articles the day of Barrow’s accident and death that told more of his life and his relationship

“A ponderous sightseeing automobile struck the ambulance, which contained a woman patient, the driver, and a doctor,” the New York Times article reads in part. “The surgeon was thrown to the pavement and his skull fractured. He died within 10 minutes.”

The New York Times released further articles the day of Barrow’s accident and death that told more of his life and his relationship with his community. “At Roosevelt Hospital it was said that Dr. Barrow was one of the most popular among the young physicians connected with the institution.”

Barrow was a 1901 graduate of Columbia University, and a 1905 graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

He started working with The Roosevelt Hospital July 1, 1905, and was scheduled to serve another year and eight months in their medical division.

2017 Honoree Samantha Agins | New Jersey Camp – Jaycees

EMT Samantha “Sam” Agins, 22, of New Jersey Camp Jaycee died August 11, 2015.

Agins was a nationally registered EMT working at New Jersey Camp Jaycee, a camp for people with special needs. She was enrolled to start at East Stroudsburg University in the pre-med program.

On August 8, 2015, the last day of camp, a camper collapsed from cardiac arrest. Agins ran to render aid with the assistance of an AED. The AED indicated no shock advised. She continued CPR until EMS arrived approximately 43 minutes later.

Despite the efforts of both Agins and other EMS to resuscitate the patient, the patient did not survive. She developed a headache after administering CPR.

Camp officials called her parents, and her mother picked her up from the camp and took her home to rest, thinking she was suffering from exhaustion. After a few hours of lying down to rest, Agins could not walk, talk, or see correctly. Her family called EMS, but when they arrived, she was no longer responsive.

She was taken to Pocono Medical Center where she was found to have a ruptured artery which resulted in several massive strokes. She was sent to Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia where she died August 11, 2015.

Agin’s actions were described as “heroic and valiant.” Her dad said she was always a giver and she was known for constantly wearing a beautiful smile. He said she was also an organ donor and her tissue was donated to save even more lives. She is a hero because she tried. Her dad said her legacy is: “If you can help someone, you always have to try.”

2017 Honoree Jason Adams | Sherwood Fire Department

Lieutenant R. Jason Adams, 29, died in the line of duty January 22, 2016, in Sherwood, Arkansas, while responding to a medical call as a volunteer with the East Pulaski County Fire Department in Arkansas. Adams’ interest in the fire service was sparked when he was assisted by a volunteer firefighter who responded to a call to his home when Adams was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for his second battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Adams was hired by the Sherwood Fire Department immediately following his graduation from the Arkansas Fire Training Academy, Firefighter Standards in April 2012. He served as a volunteer firefighter with the East Pulaski County Fire Department for 10 years and was a career firefighter with the Sherwood Fire Department for four years.

National EMS Memorial Service 2016

Photos by Mark Mennie