BLACKSBURG, Va.- – In a few days, Lora Lattanzi, a volunteer emergency medical technician at Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, will participate in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride from Boston to Washington D.C.
"My goal in this is to help bring awareness to first responders. To have fun and to survive. I don't feel like I have trained quite as much as I should have for a ride of this length," Lattanzi said.
And she says the cause is something near to her heart.
"At least the Blacksburg squad is run by volunteers. It is a potentially dangerous situation we are going into. Sometimes unstable situations," Lattanzi said.
Scott Davis, deputy chief of EMS operations was inspired by previous squad volunteers to do the bike ride. This is his 12th year.
"Just hearing their stories for the two years they did it before I joined in 2008," said Davis.
The 514-mile journey is in memory of emergency medical services hurt or killed in the line of duty. Some of them Davis knew personally.
"Two of these were members here. They were not killed in the line of duty. But EMS providers at our rescue squad," he said.
Davis says it's an emotional experience to meet many of the families at the end of the ride.
"Usually the first thing they do is give you a hug. I think it's bringing a lot of closure to them having that connection with someone that's rode their bike all week for the person they love," Davis said.
In 2017, 113 Fire and EMS workers across the country died in the Line of Duty. Click here for more information from the 2017 Line of Duty Death Report.