Grills blazed and music played as emergency medical services personnel from all over the Ohio Valley recently got together for a picnic honoring their service to their fellow residents, sponsored by Wheeling Hospital.
"From small rural communities to larger cities like Wheeling, the people here today represent about 75 different emergency squads ... ," Wheeling Hospital spokesman Gregg Warren said. "Every year we have this picnic in appreciation of what they do."
Warren said Wheeling Hospital deals with emergency squads every day at its trauma center.
Firemen, paramedics, other emergency personnel and their families gathered side by side to enjoy a meal, music, door prizes and social interaction.
"Wheeling Hospital puts on a nice picnic every year," Ohio River and Western Fire District Chief Dave Lenz said. "It's kind of a nice chance for people from different departments to get together and unwind a little bit."
Lenz, whose department officially started keeping paid personnel in April, said emergency personnel always enjoy a chance to relax.
Local band Double Identity donated their time to entertain at the picnic.
"We're just here to give them some entertainment," drummer Rob Matusik of Bridgeport said.
The band, consisting of Matusik, Don Cox of Moundsville and Steve Leavitt of Barnesville, played music by Jimmy Buffett, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis as dinner was served.
"The happiest part of being EMS is helping people," Adena Fire Company volunteer Trevor Sebring said. "It's nice having some recognition once in a while."
As dinner concluded and the evening's activities began, Warren commended emergency personnel for their daily service.
"We are so happy and so proud and so grateful that you do what you do in your communities," Warren said.