Willow Grove-to-Harrisburg Bike Riders Honor EMS Workers Taken in the Line of Duty

bikers following a van
Image via WFMZ 69 News.
50 riders set out from Willow Grove, bound for Harrisburg.

A three-day bike ride between Montgomery County and Harrisburg had 50 cyclists covering 150 miles to memorialize emergency medical services (EMS) personnel taken in the line of duty. Rose Itzcovitz covered the event — known as Memorial Service Monday — for WFMZ 69 News.

The route took participants from the Second Alarmers Rescue Squad in Willow Grove to the state Capitol Building.

The Pennsylvania EMS Provider Foundation hosted. Its chair, Doug Garretson, said, “Our EMS providers are often overlooked in our day-to-day lives. They tend to work long hours, punctuated with moments of intense stress [and] often sub-par wages.

“…Pa. has experienced far too many line-of-duty EMS deaths, not to mention the silent loss of providers to post-traumatic stress and suicide,” he concluded.

The Centers for Disease and Control itself has recognized the higher incidents of self-harm for EMS professionals; it estimates responders are 1.39 times more likely to take their own lives than members of the public.

Many riders who have lost fellow first responders say the trek is a way to take action.

“It’s important for us to come together as a family because it helps us move on and carry on the torch,” said rider Charles McGarvey, acting Pa. State Fire Commissioner.

The complete story on Memorial Service Monday is at WFMZ 69 News.

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