Congresswoman Summer Lee Announces State of the Union Guest: John Moon, Former Freedom House EMT and retired Assistant Chief  Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Service

Mar 05, 2024
Press

**For IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Contact: Emilia.Rowland@mail.house.gov

Congresswoman Summer Lee Announces State of the Union Guest: John Moon, Former Freedom House EMT and retired Assistant Chief  Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Service

Press interested in interviewing with Lee or Moon before or after the State of the Union should fill out this Interview Request form

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Summer Lee (PA-12) announced that John Moon, Former Freedom House EMT and retired Assistant Chief  Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Service, will be her guest for President Biden’s State of the Union address. The Freedom House Ambulance Service – which Lee introduced a resolution to honor just last week – was founded in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District and was the first-ever emergency medical service in the country to be staffed by paramedics with medical training beyond basic first aid. They were the first to perform tourniquets for uncontrolled bleeding, resuscitation techniques for heart attacks, and to treat breathing problems all en-route. They also pioneered several treatments, including the use of naloxone for treating overdoses

Congresswoman Lee said, “John Moon is a living legend. His service in the Freedom House Ambulance Service, revolutionized how emergency medicine is administered not just in this country, but around the world. Their revolutionary methods are responsible for saving a life every 30 minutes. It is a profound privilege to have him be my guest of honor at the State of the Union, as we continue his legacy of fighting for Medicare for All, health equity, and towards building public services that serve ALL of our communities.”

Press interested in interviewing with Lee or Moon before or after the State of the Union should fill out this Interview Request form

John Moon’s bio:  John Moon is a former Freedom House emergency technician and retired Assistant Chief of Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Service. John joined Freedom House Ambulance Service in 1972–and has been a groundbreaker in establishing multiple care techniques, and in standardizing emergency medicine practices nationwide. He continued to work in emergency medicine for five decades, and now works to preserve Freedom House’s legacy and mentor the next generation  of emergency and community responders in Pittsburgh.

Last week, Rep. Lee introduced a resolution to honor the Freedom House Ambulance Service. Rep. Lee also spoke on the House floor about their invaluable contributions to medicine on the last day of Black History Month. You can find her full remarks below.

Watch the full speech here.

 “I rise today, on the last day of Black History Month, in recognition of the Freedom House Ambulance Service, a group of  Black men and women from Pittsburgh who over 50 years ago, revolutionized emergency medical services. 

“They were the first to perform tourniquets for uncontrolled bleeding, resuscitation techniques for heart attacks, and to treat breathing problems all en-route.

“These folks were not doctors or nurses. They were from the poorest, Blackest areas of Pittsburgh. They were overlooked in a society still trying – and mostly failing – to deliver on the promise of the Civil Rights Act. And yet they set the standard for how medical professionals handle emergency care today while filling the voids of institutions that were failing them. 

“For the first time, Black folks in Pittsburgh got the medical care we needed… until they were absorbed by city government when Black neighborhoods started getting better treatment than their rich, white counterparts who refused their services.

“The Freedom House Ambulance Service saved countless lives in Pittsburgh’s most underserved neighborhoods and their legacy has saved countless lives across the country. Today I am proud to introduce a Resolution honoring them.

“As we close out Black History Month, let us not forget the Black history makers who despite barriers, made this country a better place.

“I yield back.”

Background on the Freedom House Ambulance Service:

The Freedom House Ambulance Service was the first ever ambulance service in the country to be staffed by paramedics with medical training beyond basic first aid, and was created in 1967, and revolutionized emergency street medicine to combat high mortality rates for folks who suffered heart attacks, victims of car crashes, or people who suffered gunshot wounds across the Hill District

  • Black folks often couldn’t rely on police and fire departments during an emergency, so FHAS, based in the Presbyterian and Mercy Hospitals,  was able to fill in the gaps and provide care to people as they needed it–ultimately saving lives.
  • By 1972, Freedom House employed 35 paramedics, received over 7,000 phone calls, and established the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians to formalize the field.
    • The crew pioneered several medical developments in the process, including introduction of medical physicians to ambulance work, allowing medics to transmit EKGs, using air casts to stabilize injured bones and joints, and even administering Narcan to overdose patients. 

The Resolution Recognizing the historical contributions and value of the Freedom House Ambulance Service honors the contributions of Freedom House Ambulance Service in being the first Emergency Medical Service, and highlights the contributions that the predominantly-Black Hill District in PA-12 made on medicine around the world.


Since taking office in January, Lee, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and Space, Science and Technology Committee, has delivered historic levels of federal investment totaling over $1 Billion brought back to Western PA, including over $200 million for infrastructure, over $50 million for affordable transit, and over $500 million to keep clean energy manufacturing at home in Pennsylvania. These investments will help improve Western Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and transit, ensure cleaner air and drinking water, lower housing costs, fund research institutions, fuel clean manufacturing, fund STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, boost workforce development, and create thousands of good paying union jobs.  Lee and her team have also delivered casework and constituent services to over 1,600 constituents with issues ranging from helping our seniors and disabled community access Medicare and social security to helping folks secure housing and helping families with immigration support and passports.

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