TEMS is sad to report that Bruce Edwards passed away this morning at a local hospital. Bruce started his EMS career in 1967 as a member of the Ocean Park Volunteer Rescue Squad. He became executive director of the Emergency Coronary Care Program in 1973, leading an effort to deploy the first volunteer ALS providers in Virginia. In 1975 he became the leader of Virginia Beach EMS at the head of the newly created Office of EMS. He continued to build EMS and our volunteer rescue squads to departmental status, laying the foundations for the effective organization that VBEMS is today.
Bruce was promoted to Chief Emeritus in 2016 after his retirement from the Virginia Beach Department of EMS. In that capacity he remained active as an advisor and mentor over the last four years, making him the longest-serving member in the history of the VBEMS organization.
Bruce was also actively involved in regional and state EMS activities, taking the lead in creating many of medical control and regulatory systems that we rely on every day. In addition to multiple tours on the EMS Governor’s Advisory Board, he ultimately served as the Chairman of the Virginia Board of Health.
The Tidewater EMS Council’s Leadership (formally the Administrator) of the Year Award was named after Bruce in honor of his years of service to the Region.
There are so many more things we could say about Bruce and what he has done for EMS not only locally and regionally, but for EMS across the commonwealth of Virginia. The dual role service of career and volunteer providers provided a model to many across the country. We have lost a great public servant and a true giant in EMS.
He will be missed.
Please keep Bruce’s family in your thoughts and prayers.