Welcome home – Ambulance crews get a warm reception after New York trip
COAL GROVE — On Thursday night, anyone driving through Coal Grove was probably wondering what was going on since there were a lot of ambulances, fire trucks and police cruisers on the side of the road towards Ironton.
The first responders were there to pay honor to the 10 paramedics and EMTs from Patriot EMS who were returning home after being deployed for nearly three weeks in New York to help with the coronavirus pandemic.
The crews had left New York at 6:30 a.m. and, as word of their departure got back to Lawrence County, Krista Ellison, owner of Patriot EMS, decided to put together a gesture to welcome them back home.
“They were deployed, been there for 20 days, and we are giving them a welcome home,” she said. “We just wanted to show them that we appreciate the job they did, they went above and beyond the call of duty.”
Among those who gathered to honor them were two Ironton Police officers, Patriot EMS, KDMC Ambulance, Lawrence County EMS, Coal Grove Fire Department, Upper Township Volunteer Fire Department and Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department in their vehicles.
“As an EMT, you work with everybody and get to know everybody, so we are one big team,” Ellison said. “We try to take care of each other and have each other’s back.”
The American Legion Riders on their motorcycles met them at South Point to escort them to Ironton. Lawrence County deputies blocked off traffic at the U.S 23 interchange to let the processional pass.
Ellison said that she is sure that local EMS has transported people with the coronavirus and didn’t know it and, most of the time when local crews are deployed to help in another area, they can see the disaster, but, with the coronavirus, it is invisible.
“They transported nothing but positive patients and they did a lot of 911 emergencies in New York,” she said. “So, they definitely had to make a hard decision to put their life at risk and leave their families. It is definitely a hard decision to make.”