Emergency lights from fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and more flashed outside of McDonald and Son Funeral Home on Monday as first responders remembered one of their own.
On Monday, Nov. 21, the funeral service was held for Central EMS EMT Gina Ayres, who was killed in a three-vehicle wreck on Thursday, Nov. 17 while responding to an emergency call.
“Gina was a consummate professional, the kind of medic that you just want to have with you in the firehouse: compassionate, dedicated, detailed,” Forsyth County Fire Department Div. Chief Jason Shivers said on Monday. “An amazing, amazing lady, and she’s going to be missed for many years. She’s leaving a big void that is going to be tough to fill.”
First responders from Forsyth County were joined by employees and vehicles from surrounding areas who came to pay their respects.
“A line of duty death, in any branch of public safety, always brings out what you see here, a significant presence from multiple agencies and multiple public safety professions, whether you knew the deceased or not,” Shivers said. “It’s just what we do; it’s how we honor one another.”
Along with showing support at the funeral, Shivers said first responders from other counties also covered work for EMS and 911 to allow those employees to attend the service.
“We’re being covered for in a mutual aid capacity by other agencies that care enough to step in and help us continue to provide uninterrupted care and service for the community so that the dispatchers and those on the Central EMS team could attend this service.”
Ayres is survived by her husband, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Deputy Sheriff Tony Skindzier, daughters, Corinne Ayres and Abigail Ayres, sister, Marva Park, brother, Shay Guadagnoli, and niece and nephew, Kendel and James Park.
Shivers said Ayres’s death impacted multiple departments and “hit us all hard” but applauded the community’s response, which he said was phenomenal and “exactly what we have come to expect from the Forsyth County community.”
“The outreach has done so much for Gina’s family and EMS counterparts, and of course Tony’s family in the sheriff’s office,” he said. “All public safety line of duty deaths hit hard, they’re tough to handle, but this one even more in that she touches so many different departments. It’s not just a loss for a single department.”
Ayres was killed in a wreck involving her ambulance, a Ford Mustang and a Dodge Ram pickup truck on Canton Highway just before 7 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17.
Three others were injured in the crash, including a paramedic also in the ambulance.
"Gina was a beloved member of the Central EMS family, and we are devastated by her loss. Our hearts and prayers are with Gina’s family and colleagues throughout this difficult time," Central EMS officials said in a statement.
"Gina was an extraordinarily dedicated EMT and a respected member of the Forsyth County 911 response team. She joined the Central EMS family in 2011 and celebrated her 12th anniversary with the company on November 9th. She dedicated her life to EMS since the day she was certified as an EMT in 2010."