Trinity invites blessing on EMS personnel

BLESSED — A portion of emergency medical services personnel gathered at Trinity Medical Center West Friday received a blessing from Bishop Paul Bradley of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville Friday. -- Christopher Dacanay

STEUBENVILLE — Trinity Health System invited a special blessing upon local emergency medical services personnel and their life support vehicles Friday.

Bishop Paul Bradley of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville prayed over fire and rescue workers, as well as their rigs, gathered at Trinity Medical Center West in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of National EMS week, which ends Saturday.

Authorized in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, National EMS Week is meant to “celebrate EMS professionals and the important work they do in our nation’s communities,” according to the EMS Week 2024 website. This year’s theme is “Honoring Our Past. Forging Our Future.”

Amy Lindsay, clinical manager of Trinity’s emergency department, said of the blessing, “We want to make sure (EMS personnel) all know how much we appreciate them in the emergency room, let alone in our community — how they’re there for all of the emergencies … (and) for any simple needs. We want to make sure they know we’re grateful and we’re thankful to have them.

“We asked our pastoral care team in ministry to give them and their rigs blessings to bless them on those calls to make sure they know that we’re with them — God or whoever they believe in is really with them and supporting them … on every call they go on.”

Providing critical care while transporting patients to medical facilities, EMTs and paramedics numbered nearly 300,000 in 2019, according to the National Institute of Health.

In addition to praying over and blessing the personnel and their vehicles with blessed water, Bradley blessed religious objects distributed to the personnel: Visor clips depicting St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of first responders; rosary bracelets and Franciscan crosses.

EMS personnel were treated to a cookout after the blessing.

Bradley, who has been serving as the Steubenville diocese’s apostolic administrator since September, said he’s “thrilled” to be a part of Trinity’s EMS week commemoration.

“This is really the first time in all my years that I’ve had this kind of a privilege to be able to have this kind of a blessing for those of you who are so integral, so important for the life of every community and this community in particular. You really are the lifesavers, and you’re the ones who — wherever there’s a problem — are always the first ones there.

“I’m very, very grateful to all of you for your selflessness. It really is something that is a part of, from our faith perspective, what we’re all called to do: To give our lives for others.”

Matt Grimshaw, Trinity’s president and CEO, said to personnel: “The work you do is sacred. You are dealing with people at their lowest, most broken point. Long before we (the hospital) ever see them, you’re the hands and feet of everything we do, and nothing is accomplished without doing this together. So, thank you, guys, for what you do every day. Thank you for helping us carry out our mission by what you do.”

One blessing recipient was Megan Morrison, who was representing the Hopedale Fire and EMS Department, which she has been with for almost four years. Morrison is a nurse and has been involved in EMS for about five years, also working for Short Creek Joint Fire District, which serves Adena, Smithfield and Smithfield Township.

“It’s so nice to be blessed,” Morrison said. “(The blessing) was incredibly kind and supportive of us as paramedics and EMTs, and we really appreciate it.”

Both representing Unionport Fire and Rescue, Rachel Westbrook and her daughter, Ashlee Stine are an EMS duo, having completed their training together and been active in the field for 18 years. Both had been on call and unfortunately missed blessings in previous years, Westbrook said, adding that she appreciates Trinity’s above-and-beyond efforts to support EMS personnel.

Being related, Westbrook and Stine have a good team dynamic, Westbrook said, noting, “She knows what I need before I say anything, and I know what she needs before she says anything.”

“We just click,” Stine added.

Capt. John Losey of the Steubenville Fire Department said of the blessing: “As a community, we appreciate it.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today