It has now been almost exactly nine years since an accident took the lives of two Kimberley Ambulance Paramedics — Kim Weitzel and Shawn Currier — and the two workers they were trying to save — Bob Newcombe and Doug Erickson.
On Wednesday, May 6, the Fallen Paramedics Memorial was unveiled on the south lawn of the Legislature in Victoria.
Attending the ceremony were the families of Shawn Currier and Kim Weitzel, whose names will join eight others, forever remembered as giving their lives in the line of duty.
Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald attended the unveiling along with Kim’s husband George Weitzel, and Shawn’s parents Bob and Lori Currier.
The memorial was funded by BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) and the Ambulance Paramedics of BC (CUPE 873) to serve as a tangible reminder of the ultimate sacrifice paid by paramedics who dedicate themselves to helping others. The Fallen Paramedics Memorial joins the law enforcement and fire services memorials, which together honour emergency responders and remind the public of the danger these men and women face as they work to help save lives.
“I hope this memorial provides some comfort to the families of the 10 paramedics who died in the line of duty in BC. We honour these heroic men and women, and their selfless contributions are never forgotten,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.
Macdonald later spoke in the Legislature.
“Paramedics do a very difficult job. They rush to scenes of trauma to give comfort and ease pain. And they are often asked to go into dangerous situations.
“Kim and Shawn thought they would be attending a drowning. They believed they were going to a pond, not a shed. They had no way of knowing that the conditions in that shed would cause their deaths.
“The funeral held nine years ago for Kim Weitzel, Shawn Currier, Bob Newcombe and Doug Erickson was held at the Kimberley Civic Centre. Along with much of Kimberley, more than 700 paramedics, firefighters, police, military personnel and search and rescue members led a 2 kilometer procession to the funeral.
“Across the East Kootenay, and across the country, we mourned their loss.
“I want to acknowledge the work of the paramedics’ union, the BC Ambulance Service, and the Speaker’s Office to create a fitting memorial to fallen paramedics.
“Kim Weitzel and Shawn Currier are honoured here on the grounds of the BC Legislature. Our thoughts are with their families, who are with us today. They have lived with their passing these past nine years, and will live with this tragic loss forever.
“We all hope there is some comfort in knowing that deep appreciation felt by all members of the legislature and all British Columbians for those like Kim and Shawn who choose to serve.”
The Fallen Paramedics are:
Ivan Polivka died in the line of duty on October 19, 2010.
Jo-Ann Fuller died in the line of duty on October 19, 2010.
Michael Gray died in the line of duty on April 8, 2008.
Kim Weitzel died in the line of duty on May 17, 2006.
Shawn Currier died in the line of duty on May 17, 2006.
Andreas (Andy) Goedicke died in the line of duty on January 11, 1995.
Wendy Thompson died in the line of duty on January 11, 1995.
Carol Schlamp died in the line of duty on January 26, 1993.
Theresa Bond died in the line of duty on May 4, 1990.
Tony Sunderland died in the line of duty on June 4, 1988.