CHAMPLAIN — Ambulance driver Eric Monty, who died in the line of duty last year, was honored at a recent memorial service in Albany.
The Mooers man suffered a massive heart attack and died shortly after midnight on Nov. 27, 2012, while he was driving a patient to the hospital.
“I think this memorial really brought a sense of closure to us as an agency, to the family, and I think we walk away from there remembering Eric,” said Champlain EMS Capt. Cory Thompson. “We’ll never forget him but also (are) continuing to be dedicated to what he represented in our agency.”
“The memorial service was above and beyond everything I expected,” said Susan Roberts, Monty’s sister and a Champlain emergency medical technician who was part of the crew on that last trip.
“They did just a beautiful job.”
Only two people were honored at the memorial, Monty and David G. Restuccio, a EMT from Staten Island.
“Line-of-duty deaths are pretty rare up here. This is the first one I’ve ever been involved with,” Thompson said.
He was surprised to see the size of the crowd at the service.
“There had to have been close to 300 people that attended this. We counted nearly 40 ambulances (agencies) that attended the memorial,” he said. “To me, it showed the bond that we have in EMS and fire (departments).”
‘THERE IN SPIRIT’
An honor guard, bagpipers and drummers honored the two emergency workers, Thompson said.
Roberts had expected it to rain that day, but upon her arrival at the Capitol building, the sun was shining.
Before the service, the security system on a Champlain EMS ambulance went off, something Thompson said had never happened before.
At the time, Roberts thought, “OK, Eric, we know you’re here.”
“He had quite a bit of his sense of humor in his living days,” she said.