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Governor McDonnell issued a proclamation today designating the week of June 2-8, 2013 as Virginia's first ever Fire and EMS Memorial Week. The memorial week will serve to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving the Commonwealth as Fire or EMS personnel. Official events for the week will begin with the annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters Memorial on Saturday, June 1, 2013, 12:00 pm at the Richmond International Raceway's Main Exhibition Hall.
Speaking about the proclamation, Governor McDonnell said, "These brave men and women have demonstrated remarkable courage in the face of danger. It is critically important that we take time to recognize and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice as firefighters and EMS providers on our behalf. It is fitting that we pay tribute to them for what they have done and express our deepest sympathies to the families of these heroes. I encourage all Virginians to observe Fire and EMS Memorial Week by remembering these true public servants and extending your gratefulness to the first responders in your community."
Speaking about the memorial week, Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker stated, "First responders have tremendous dedication and commitment to saving lives and property. That dedication often leads them into harm's way. We all mourn the loss of these true heroes and we are forever grateful for the price they paid to keep us safe. This memorial week will enable us all to reflect on their supreme sacrifice and to express our heartfelt gratitude. Additionally, the week will allow us to show our appreciation and utmost respect for all of the Commonwealth's first responders who serve knowing they may one day be called to make the same sacrifice."
Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel commented on the tribute, "Virginia's first responders step forward on a daily basis to serve others. Fire and EMS personnel risk their lives every day when they rush into burning buildings or provide life saving aid to someone in need. Fire and EMS Memorial Week is our opportunity as a Commonwealth to memorialize those first responders who sacrificed their lives in an effort to save another. It is also an opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifices made by these brave men and women and their families every day."