Paramedics honouring fallen colleagues with weekend bike ride
To honour a fallen colleague and raise money for a national memorial, paramedics with the Essex-Windsor Emergency Medical Services will head out on a 100-kilometre bike ride across Essex County on Saturday.
One of the ride organizers, Bruce Krauter, says September 11th is a day no first responder can forget and this year they're commemorating it by riding in honour of Russ Ransome.
"A local paramedic back in 1989 had a tragic death where he was doing a med-evac from Pelee Island to Windsor and the plane crashed into Lake Erie," he continued. "So we're riding this year to honour Russ and his memory and also to bring awareness about paramedics and line of duty deaths."
Ransome's story is among those highlighted on the website of the Canadian Paramedic Memorial Foundation, which is raising money for a national memorial honouring all paramedics who have died in the line of duty.
Krauter says people often think of paramedics as heroes that help save the lives of residents, firefighters and police officers, but sometimes they lose their lives while performing their duties and they want to draw attention to that.
"It's very tragic events, so this ride is kind of to bring awareness to that. And then also to bring awareness that EMS and paramedics both nationally and provincially do not have a memorial or a monument in place to pay tribute to those fallen nor to give peace of mind to the families."
Krauter says they want to make sure Ransome's memory is remembered, as well as those who gave their lives to protect others.
"Ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, that's the big thing. It was by design of September 11th and that's a day that I don't think anybody will forget and it's significant with all first responders but we're more focused on Russ' memory," he said.
Saturday's ride is one of 32 Paramedic Ride events being held across the country this year, and it starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Festival Plaza on Windsor's waterfront.
The 16 riders will then make their way to St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Amherstburg, where they will pay tribute to Ransome at his grave site before heading to Point Pelee National Park in Leamington, where there will be a small ceremony during which flowers for each of the fallen paramedics will be placed in the surf followed by a moment of silence.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public are asked not to join the group ride and event at Point Pelee. Instead, they can support the ride on social media and by going to the Paramedic Ride donation page.