Schuylkill County Officials Honor I-81 Disaster First Responders

POTTSVILLE – Schuylkill County officials gathered at the Wegman’s Distribution Center near Pottsville today to honor the over 50 first responder organizations who put their safety on the line to respond to the disastrous accident on I-81 during a snow squall on March 28th, according to Senator David G. Argall (R-29).

First responder organizations were presented with official plaques from the state Senate and certificates from Congressman Dan Meuser (R-9) and the Schuylkill County state House delegation in commemoration of their heroic efforts.

“To our dispatcher, police officers, volunteer firefighters, emergency medical technicians, flight nurses, and hospital systems – thank you for your commitment to our community,” said Senator Argall.  “I have been informed that the emergency response was carried out so smoothly that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) would like to learn more about the response from local officials.  On March 28th, during one of the most tragic local events in recent memory, we truly saw the best of Schuylkill County.”

“In the midst of tragedy and destruction, caused by unexpected weather conditions on I-81, our emergency personnel including State and local police, local firefighters, ALS/BLS responders, Schuylkill Emergency Management, Schuylkill County 911, Schuylkill County Coroner’s Office, state and municipal officials, medical hospital facility life flights, Wegmans, the American Red Cross, Schuylkill United Way,  the Schuylkill Transportation System, local heavy towing companies and lodging facilities all collaborated in partnership to assist the victims of this horrific day,” said Robert S. Carl, Jr., President and CEO, Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce.  “We pause to reflect on the lives lost, those seriously injured still recovering and to honor all those who without pause put their lives on the line to carry out their professional services in aiding others.  This is the collaborative mutual assistance we have come to respect and honor in Schuylkill County.  We are truly grateful for their dedication and service.”

“We are blessed to have such dedicated volunteers in our area,” said Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-123). “Thank you to the first responders who answered the call and put their lives on the line to help our community. Also, thank you to our tow truck drivers who worked around the clock to provide service. Everyone went above and beyond that day in extremely difficult circumstances.”

“Our first responders put their own safety at risk by rushing to the scene to help others in danger,” Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124) said. “Local first responders acted quickly and professionally to deliver aid to those in need. These men and women did an amazing job under enormous pressure. We want to show our appreciation to our first responders who never know when they may be called on to answer an emergency like this one.”


Contact: Jim Brugger