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Tribute tour honours fallen paramedics


by Sylene Argent  

Last Wednesday and Thursday, paramedics and supporters of Essex-Windsor EMS cycled across the region, with a Memorial Bell in tow, to honour the names of the Canadian paramedics who lost their lives while assisting those in need.

  Two paramedics cycled at a time to cover a leg of the regional tour that included stops in Kingsville, Harrow, Amherstburg, LaSalle, and Windsor on Wednesday. On Thursday, the tour included stops in Windsor, Tecumseh, Lakeshore, Essex, and Leamington. On Tuesday, the bell was brought to Pelee Island in honour of Russ Ransome, who passed away due to a plane crash in June of 1989, while transporting a patient off the island. He was 28-years old.

  While stopping in each municipality, the cyclists hosted a 10-minute ceremony at each ambulance base.

  The bell was then handed off to Chatham-Kent EMS personnel, so a similar tour could take part there. It is hoped the Memorial Bell toured would continue across Ontario.

  This year’s Memorial Bell tour was initiated after the Toronto to Ottawa Paramedic ride was cancelled due to COVD-19. The annual event has taken place since 2013.

  Essex-Windsor EMS Paramedic Trevor Lee explained that typically, members of the local group H3O (Helping Honour Heroes of Ontario) participate in that four-day paramedic tour ride from Toronto to Ottawa to raise funds to build a monument at Parliament Hill in honour of fallen civilian and military paramedics.

  Lee said it was a great honour to participate in that four-day event last year to pay tribute to those fallen paramedics, including serviceman, Ransome. He, and other local EMS personnel, did not want a year to go by without those names being honoured, so they found a way to have a tour, while following social distancing rules.

He hopes the Memorial Bell, through this re-worked tour, will make it to all ambulance services in Ontario. He also hopes a video can be compiled of this year’s tour.

  This year, Lee said, they are not raising funds for the monument as many individuals and families are facing economic challenges due to COVID-19. He urges anyone wanting to make a donation to consider forwarding those funds to a local food bank to help neighbours in a time of need, or they can log onto the Paramedic Ride page on Facebook to learn more about the Toronto to Ottawa bike ride.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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