Thirty-nine North Dakota ambulance services have signed up to be involved in the procession as part of Monday’s memorial for the lives lost in the Bismarck Air Medical plane crash.
Kelly Dollinger expects that number to only increase.
“You’re not going to keep them away,” the state president of the North Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association said. "This is an EMS family."
Ambulances from Mohall, Plaza, Fargo, Beach, Billings County, Grand Forks, Minot and other districts are set to appear in the procession Monday morning, Dollinger said. Each may bring three or four crew members.
The procession will leave from Eastgate Funeral Home in Bismarck and will generally follow State Street and South Seventh Street to the Bismarck Event Center, where services begin 10 a.m. Monday in honor of pilot Todd Lasky, paramedic Chris Iverson and nurse Bonnie Cook, who died as a result of the air ambulance crash northwest of Mandan.
Dollinger said other emergency responders will appear as well, such as rural and city fire departments and law enforcement.
The procession is “bound to see” ambulances from other states, such as South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, according to Dollinger, adding that past memorials have included agencies from Canada.
The Rev. Greg Carr, lead chaplain for Crisis Care Chaplaincy, said the public memorial offers a time and place for people to grieve and remember those lost Sunday night in the crash.
The service is a joint effort with the chaplaincy, Bismarck Air Medical, Metro Area Ambulance and CHI St. Alexius Health, with help from Bismarck Fire Support Chief Brooks Martin. Carr said the memorial is planning seats for 3,100.
“I think it’s awesome to see all of the departments, EMS, fire correctional, every first response group come together, the medical group, having all of these people come together and support one another is one of the most heartfelt things I’ve seen in my entire life,” Carr said. “It’s just beautiful.”
Kilee Harmon, development director for CHI St. Alexius Health Bismarck Foundation, said the hospital has been humbled to see community members support one another after the plane crash.
The memorial will offer a chance for them to show their gratitude for the lives lost and EMS personnel overall, she added.
"Hard times like this, people need to come together, and so we're happy to see that that is the case," Harmon said.
Gloria David, public information officer for the city of Bismarck, said no streets will be closed Monday due to the procession, except for the length of East Bowen Avenue from South Fifth Street to South Seventh Street.
Dollinger asks that any ambulance service planning to participate in Monday's procession contact him by email at email@example.com.