The Royal Canadian Mint has issued the second coin in an inspiring series entitled “National Heroes,” which honors the country’s safety and security services. The first coin highlighted firefighters, and the latest issue salutes paramedics, the men and women who are often at the front line of response, rushing to save people in medical distress.
Whether called to an accident, illness, or the scene of a violent crime, these front-line responders must be quick-thinking and decisive. The practice of providing vital medical treatment in emergency situations where a physician is not immediately available originated from the need to tend to soldiers on the battlefield. As doctors were providing treatment for their patients in operating theaters and mobile army surgical hospitals, the need to train those who would be responsible for emergency treatment became crucial not just to save the lives of soldiers but to lessen their emotional and physical trauma.
The term “para-medic” did not come into common use until the 1960’s, when the intense medical emergencies of the Vietnam War gave rise to a need for paramedics instructed in advanced medical skills who were sent out into the field to do work that was ordinarily reserved for doctors. Many lives were saved when paramedics were dispatched with swiftness during the height of fighting and under very challenging circumstances. Afterwards, in peacetime, the concept of paramedics carried into civilian ambulance services; since then, they have been taking on greater responsibilities as their training and skills continue to enhance the concept of first response.
The coin, designed by Canadian artist Ken Ryan, includes a color snapshot of two paramedics in action. Engraved in the background is a rear view of an ambulance, its doors open wide just moments after arriving at a hospital’s ambulance bay. In the foreground, vibrant colour highlights the paramedics in their dark uniforms, complete with bright yellow and silver reflective bands just below the knees.
The obverse includes the effigy of HM Queen Elizabeth II as designed by Susanna Blunt, which has been used on Canadian circulation coins and most commemorative issues since 2003.
|15 Dollars||.999 Silver||23.1 Grams||36 mm.||Proof & colour||10,000 pieces|
The design of two paramedics unloading a patient from their ambulance is a powerful tribute to the critical role they play in saving lives. The second coin in the series is available as part of a four-coin subscription and is currently on sale at RCM retail shops. The remaining two coins will be released later this year and focus on the Police (August) and the Military (September). A custom wooden presentation case is also included.
The series is available as a subscription to residents of Canada and the US, and also available in RCM retail shops. For more information on this and other coins on offer by the Royal Canadian Mint, please visit their Web site.