Springs new host city to National EMS Memorial

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Colorado Springs is now home to the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial.

The permanent outdoor display will be built at Memorial Park, and the National EMS Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 26.

The memorial and Tree of Life were on display in a museum in Virginia for 17 years, but when the museum closed in 2006, EMS began a nationwide search for a host city.

National EMS officials are still designing the new memorial and hope to have it installed for the service next year.

EMS Memorial Director Kevin Agard said Colorado Springs was chosen from 41 proposals for numerous reasons, after the organization looked at hundreds of data points.

Since 2008, Cheryl McCullough, with the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, has worked with EMS during its search for a permanent memorial site.

Agard said that Colorado Springs stood out because of its central location within the nation and its cosmopolitan size and amenities, while still being small enough for the family members to walk around downtown.

“And you can’t beat the space the city gave us – with the lake and Pikes Peak in the background, what’s not to like?” Agard said.

He also said the high military presence in the region was a contributing factor to EMS’s choice.

“The military understands paying tribute to our fallen,” he said. “The people here get it.”

Fort Carson’s honor guard will be participating in the ceremony on Saturday.

About 400 family members from out-of-town have registered to attend events all weekend, and another 400 are expected to attend the memorial service, he said.

The opening ceremony and arrival of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride will be at 5 p.m. Friday, June 25 at Antlers Park behind the Antlers Hilton Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs.

The 2010 National EMS Memorial Service will be held at 6 p.m. June 26 at First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, 219 East Bijou Street.

At the conclusion of the service, Taps will be played and there will be a helicopter flyover by Memorial Star, Flight for Life, AirLife and Northern Colorado MedEvac.