Who We Are
The Veterans Of Emergency Medical Services recognizes the dedication of the men and women who serve others in their times of crisis and need. We are the Best of our communities, serving beside the Finest and the Bravest at every emergency, sometimes paying the ultimate sacrifice.
The Veterans Of the Emergency Medical Services [VoEMS] started as a Facebook group designed to be a place for EMS professionals to come together and share their experiences, thoughts, fears, hopes and challenges within a supportive network of their peers. We started as a group of about 200 members but quickly swelled to over 5,000 in a single week following the senseless and heartbreaking murder of a 14-year veteran of the FDNY: EMT Yadira Arroyo. Yari was a 44 year-old single mom to 5 boys who was killed by a gang member while working yet another overtime shift as she had to do so frequently, just so she could support her family. Yari wouldn’t have been in that place at that time if she had been recognized as an essential professional and was paid a salary worthy her service.
Our founder, Jennifer Waddleton suggested we start a fundraiser as a way to donate money to Yari's sons. A Challenge Coin was commissioned and the artist and manufacturer donated their work to the cause. VoEMS went forward with a goal to raise $2,500. We were shocked and overwhelmed by the response from our community. Thanks to our Veterans and the working professionals of the EMS Community across the country and from eight other countries around the world, we sold 2500 coins eventually donating $35,000 to the Arroyo family.
After Yadira’s tragedy we began to tell our stories in the group - the “# metoo” - of EMS. Sadly, but not surprisingly, there are far too many stories of us suffering assaults on the job; both physical and sexual. Too many stories of us coming to real harm at the hands of our patients or bystanders. Too many of us suffering from PTSD and depression and burnout. We share about how often we go into danger unarmed, unprotected and unappreciated. But we also share the stories of why we started this job. We talk about what called us to serve. We talk about the saves, the babies delivered, the times we made a positive difference in someone else’s life. So many of us say we would do the work for free because no matter the danger or heartbreak or nightmares; we love what we do. The joys outweigh the fears. The saves outweigh the losses.
We understand and we support each other. We fundraise for each other. We fundraise to erect a plaque to recognize the bravery of the EMS community that responded to the worst mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas. We fundraise to provide scholarships for kids from Volunteer Ambulance Corps across America to go to college. We fundraise to allow EMTs and Paramedics who have been injured on the job to train for new skills and new careers after doing nothing but serving their communities in EMS for their entire adult lives. We fundraise to support organizations that offer free mental health services to EMS professionals. We fundraise to lobby for health coverage for the Heroes of 9/11 who are still suffering and dying all these years later. We fundraise to erect a National Monument to honor the fallen of EMS in Washington DC. And we fundraise to give comfort to the children of a murdered mom who was “just doing her job”.
We are The Veterans of the Emergency Medical Services. We are the Best of our communities, there to help you and we are asking you to help us. All proceeds of the sales on this page go to support the Veterans of the Emergency Medical Services.