Nine years ago this morning, America was attacked. A war that most people didn’t know about or had ignored had been brought to the heart of the nation. The initial responders weren’t sure what happened other than a plane had crashed into a tower of the World Trade Center. Hundreds of EMTs, paramedics, fire fighters, and police officers responded to the scene intent on saving the lives of people trapped in the building and trying to contain the fires that raged on the upper floors. Few people watching on TV or listening on the radio suspected that just before 10:00 AM the South Tower would collapse, killing civilians, police, EMS personnel, and fire fighters.
Among the people who perished that morning was FDNY – EMS paramedic Ricardo Quinn. On the morning of September 11, 2001 Paramedic Quinn was assigned to light duty at Elmhurst Hospital Center. He was still recovering from shoulder surgery earlier in the summer and was not on full duty. Despite his surgery, Paramedic Quinn went directly to the World Trade Center to help with the treatment of the injured. Paramedic Quinn was last seen heading into Tower 2 to help treat and evacuate those who had been injured by debris from the explosion. He was still in there, along with several hundred other people, when the tower collapsed.
His wife, Virginia, didn’t find out that her husband had perished until the following morning when another paramedic called to inquire whether or not Quinn had returned home. When told that he hadn’t and that he wasn’t at Elmhurst, it became apparent what had happened. Paramedic Quinn had given his life trying to help the victims of the World Trade Center Attack.
A memorial service was held for FDNY – EMS Paramedic Quinn on September 29, 2001. EMS providers from all over the east coast came to honor the memory of a comrade who made the ultimate sacrifice. As long as we remember people like Ricardo Quinn their valor will live on.