NYS Tree of Life Memorial Service Honored Ten Fallen EMS Providers who Died in the Line of Duty

New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) officials and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community came together yesterday to honor ten fallen EMS heroes at the New York State EMS Memorial Ceremony. The EMS Memorial features a large granite tablet with the “Tree of Life” engraved on its surface and the names of those EMS personnel who died in the line of duty.

“The New York EMS providers we lost during the last year dedicated themselves to saving lives and to serving their communities,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “They are the embodiment of the word ‘hero.’ We honor their great sacrifice, selfless commitment, and sense of duty in the face of danger.”

The ceremony was held on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, with NYSDOH Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner Kristin Proud delivering remarks.

“It is an honor to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the line of duty,” Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner Kristin Proud said. “Their selflessness and service will not be forgotten and the contributions they’ve made will live on and inspire the communities they love. We also recognize and honor the family members, friends and colleagues of these first responders, who have no doubt endured the most pain and grief, and are willing to share the memory of their loved ones with us all.”

Among the ten names that were added to the memorial, three lost their battle with COVID-19 illness, one passed away following a medical episode while on duty, and six succumbed to illnesses that developed after responding to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

The brave men and women who responded to the 9/11 terror attack, participated in search and rescue, and cleanup at ground zero 21 years ago, continue to pay the price for their courage today. As we honor their lives, we also remember their family, friends and loved ones whose lives continue to be transformed by that horrific day.

This year’s honorees:

  • Ian Cooperstein (Sullivan Paramedicine, Inc): Ian was a well-known and respected Emergency Medical Technician in Sullivan County and was most recently employed as the Deputy Director of Operations for Mobilmedic EMS. He passed away on 9/23/2021 following a diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Charles Harries (FDNY): Charles served the City of New York since starting his career as an EMT in 1992. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2013. He passed away on 10/23/2021 due to World Trade Center-related illness.
  • Paige Humphries (FDNY): Paige served the City of New York since he was appointed to NYC EMS as an EMT in 1974. He was among the first responders on the ground following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. He passed away on 2/07/2021 due to World Trade Center-related illness.
  • Anthony Maggio (Woodbury Community Ambulance): Anthony joined Ridgewood Volunteer Ambulance at the age of 17. He was retired NYPD Police Officer, a member of The Fraternal Order of Police in Monroe, N.Y., and a volunteer EMT with Woodbury Community Ambulance. He passed away on 1/28/2021 following a diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Stephenson McCoy (FDNY): Stephenson proudly served the City of New York for over 26 years. He was among the first responders on the ground following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. He passed away on 8/06/2021 due to World Trade Center-related illness.
  • John Raftery (FDNY): John served the City of New York for more than 27 years. He was among the first responders on the ground following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. He passed away on 12/27/2021 due to World Trade Center-related illness.
  • Alvin Suriel (FDNY): Alvin was Assistant Chief of EMS and among the first responders on the ground following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. He passed away on 12/07/2021 due to World Trade Center-related illness.
  • Daryl Tombs (AMR – Corning Ambulance Service): Daryl was a nearly 30-year employee of Corning Ambulance, holding nearly all positions during his career. He was also a member of Bath Ambulance. Daryl passed away on 1/16/2021 following a diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Mark Weiner (FDNY): Mark was an Emergency Medical Technicial with the FDNY and was among the first responders on the ground following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. He passed away on 9/23/2021 due to World Trade Center-related illness.
  • Joseph Zask (Stony Point Ambulance): Joseph was a committed volunteer member of the Stony point Ambulance Corps as well as Cornwall Volunteer Ambulance. He passed away on 9/25/2021 of cardiac arrest while on duty.

These brave individuals responded to thousands of calls and saved countless lives, even in the face of danger and illness.

Roughly 70,000 EMS professionals across New York State respond to more than 3.5 million calls for care each year. Each of them, selflessly stepping into harm’s way to save the lives of others. They are New York’s true heroes.

Earlier this year, NYSDOH officials laid a wreath at the New York State Tree of Life EMS Memorial in tribute to providers who died in the line of duty as part of the 47th Annual “National EMS Week.”

Mike Wren/Department of Health