MIT’s student-run ambulance service has won the first Collier Medal, given in memory of the campus police officer slain allegedly by the two accused Boston Marathon bombers.
Many members of the volunteer service were close friends of Sean A. Collier, MIT officials said. Some transported him to Massachusetts General Hospital after he was shot as he sat in his cruiser April 18.
MIT student Dylan Soukup, chief of MIT Emergency Medical Services, said he knew Collier personally and was among those who transported him to the hospital after he was shot.
“Receiving the first Collier Medal alongside all of the members of MIT EMS was an honor I will truly never feel worthy of,” he said. “Nothing can bring back Officer Sean Collier, but I know that this will be another incredible reminder of his service to our community and the service we should all strive to carry on.”
Soukup said members of MIT EMS spent time with Collier while responding to calls. While off duty, Collier would visit the ambulance service’s bunkroom to chat or play video games, he said.
“He was a truly inspiring individual, and an award in his honor is one way to make sure people never forget that,” said Soukup. Administrators presented the award at a ceremony earlier this week to the 56 volunteers, mostly students, who operate MIT EMS.
“Last year, through circumstances none of us will ever forget, Officer Collier gave his life protecting our community,” MIT president L. Rafael Reif said in a statement. “So that his spirit will live on at MIT, this is a fresh opportunity to express our gratitude that he lived and worked among us.”
Just months before his death, Collier had written a letter praising the ambulance service, Reif said. “It is with full hearts and the deepest appreciation that the members of MIT EMS are receiving the recognition they deserve.”
MIT announced it was establishing the Collier Medal in November, saying the annual award would be given to a person or group who embodies the character and qualities of Sean Collier. Members of MIT and its “extended community” are eligible for the award.
The medal is backed by a fund MIT established to raise money to memorialize Collier through the award and scholarships in his name.
MIT also plans to build a permanent memorial to Collier on campus. Work on that project is scheduled to break ground on the anniversary of his death April 18.