INDIANAPOLIS - Tuesday marked yet another somber day for Indianapolis first responders and others who attended a private memorial service for one of two EMTs killed over the weekend when a car struck the ambulance they were in.
The memorial for Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services Pvt. Tim McCormick began about 10:30 a.m. at Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral on Meridian Street.
While the cause of the crash remains under investigation, friends and family members gathered to remember McCormick, 24, a day before a public memorial for him and Spc. Cody Medley, 22, will be held at Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus.
Under gray skies and through a bitterly cold wind, McCormick's body was carried from Crown Hill Cemetery to the cathedral in a large procession.
His casket was removed from an IEMS ambulance and carried into the church for a 90-minute ceremony that was closed to the media.
Many left the church hugging, some of them in tears.
Friends described McCormick as a compassionate man dedicated to his job and his patients, many with life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
"It was very fitting. It was just wonderful," said Val Powers, an EMS worker who was McCormick's partner for more than a year. "He would have been really proud to see all of these people here. He would have been so happy."
The deaths of two young men highlight the dangers that public safety workers face.
"I think that anybody that puts the uniform on knows the risks they take every day, and it could happen to any one of us," said Evan Cisell, of EMS. "It's a freak thing. It's tragic, and we're going to pull together and stick by each other and get through it all."
Fire engine ladders formed a cross outside the cathedral.
"(Tim McCormick was) a guy who proudly served his community, and he did it with a spirit and an integrity, and that's what we all need to work for," said Sue Shepherd, of the Indianapolis Fire Department.
A service will be held for McCormick later this week in New York, where he will be buried. Contributions to the nonprofit Indianapolis EMS fund can be made here -- http://indianapolisems.org/supportiems .
Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt