EMS Memorial Bike Ride Makes Stop in Sussex - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

EMS Memorial Bike Ride Makes Stop in Sussex

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Riders head into Lewes Fire Dept. (Photo: WBOC) Riders head into Lewes Fire Dept. (Photo: WBOC)

LEWES, Del.- One hundred bicyclists stopped for breakfast at the Lewes Fire Department before continuing their seven day National EMS Memorial Bike Ride down the northeast coast.

The ride started in Boston, brought riders through New York, Connecticut, northern Delaware and then Sussex County.

Barry Hoke is a Sussex County paramedic as well as a member of the ride's support team.

"I got involved because in 2008, Sussex County lost a paramedic in an ambulance crash out on Route 24, Stephanie Calloway," he said. "And we've been a part of this ride ever since."

Honoring those like Calloway is the whole point, the goal of the ride is to remember EMS workers who died in the line of duty. This leg of the tour specifically honors 90. There are other rides across the country.

Allen Barnes has been a paramedic for 25 years and is now the professional standards division manager for Sussex County. He has been participating in the ride since 2009.

"I think people don't realize the dangers at all of EMS," he said. "They think about danger for firefighters, they think about danger for police officers but sometimes they forget that EMS workers face the same dangers."

Many of the riders are current and former EMS workers, including first responders, nurses and more, and several are from Delmarva. Friends and family also are taking part.

About 25 riders started in Canada for the Capital to Capital ride as a larger effort to raise awareness of mental issues related to emergency work like PTSD.

"Folks sometimes say to us, well that's your job, you got into this line of work to help people at their worst times, however, we're human beings too," Norm Robillard, a paramedic from Ottawa said. "We have emotions too and keeping this stuff bottled up inside isn't healthy and the ride actually is about breaking down the stigma."

Ken Martin, a paramedic from New York state, said he thinks the awareness is getting out.

"The support, the contacts we've made, the conversations we've had, from start to finish has just been way beyond any expectation we had," he said.

After leaving southern Delaware, the next stop is Annapolis before completing the tour in Arlington, Va.

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