Remembering Bruce W. Edwards

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Virginia EMS legend and trailblazer Bruce W. Edwards. Bruce was a leader and visionary in Virginia’s EMS System. He was the first person to serve in the EMS Representative position on the Virginia State Board of Health and also served as Chair of the State Board of Health. Additionally, he served two appointed terms on the Virginia State EMS Advisory Board, and also served on the state Medevac Committee, along with countless committees and boards at the local, state and national level. He worked as a coordinator for the Virginia Office of EMS under the Executive Department of the City of Virginia Beach. In 2017, Bruce was awarded the highest honor at the state level, the Governor’s EMS Award for Excellence in EMS for his immeasurable and remarkable accomplishments to Virginia’s EMS System.

We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time. He will be greatly missed, but forever remembered for his life-long dedication, support and contribution to Virginia’s EMS System.

UPDATE – Memorial Service Details

The family will receive friends on Friday, August 28, 2020 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Laskin Road Chapel. Class A uniforms are encouraged as Chief Edwards will be in his dress uniform.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Bruce and his daughter Patricia will be celebrated at Church of the Holy Family Saturday, August 29 at 11:00 AM. The service is private with a limited number of seats for EMS, however, the service will be live streamed at

Read the obituary:


5 thoughts on “Remembering Bruce W. Edwards

  1. many of us had the prvilege of serving with Bruce inthe early days.He was chosen to head the Emergency Coronary Care program which operated from a trailer adjacent to Beach General’s ER. The first cardiac techs, including Bruce and Ray Meekins, hit the streets in August 1973. Many thanks to Drs. Charlton and Dickinson . We also taught CPR each Wednesday night. Remember the weighted backboard from the second floor? Bruce went on to coordinate the Rescue Council and then the Office of EMS. Many roles, many achievements, many honors locally and statewide. He also developed mission statements and bylaws for VAVRS. RIP…We should carry on his work

  2. An Inspiring Life’s Work!

    How saddened I am to receive the news of Bruce’s death. Bruce was my friend, confidant, mentor, encourager and a consummate professional. His sense of humor was not only legendary but infectious. His was a life so well lived with the deepest commitment to saving lives and caring for others. How well I remember the first class of paramedics to become certified in Virginia! This would not and could not have happened without Bruce’s leadership and his many contributions. He was instrumental in laying the ALS training foundation which soon grew exponentially. I shall miss Bruce greatly and yet will hold on to his inspiration and the dedication to others which he lived out and shared so freely. Well done my good and faithful friend. My prayers and condolences are with the Edwards Family and with all of my Virginia Beach and Virginia EMS Family. Christ’s Peace, Dave Palmer

  3. I had the opportunity to meet Bruce for the first time in 1995 when I became a member of the State EMS Communications Committee. However, he was already a name well known to me and to most of EMS in Virginia for all of his work in Virginia Beach, with the Regional EMS Council’s, and with VAVRS. Over the years Bruce and I served together on numerous committees and the State EMS Advisory Board. He was always ready and willing to provide his perspective on any issue related to the statewide EMS system and to tackle any challenge facing us. He was a charter member of VAGEMSA, an organization that strives to represent the interests of not only Governmental EMS organizations but the interests of the entire EMS system in Virginia. He cared deeply about VAVRS and always ensured that the interests of our volunteer EMS agencies and providers were fairly and equally represented. His work in Virginia Beach to ensure that one of, if not the world’s largest resort City was served by volunteers, his involvement with the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation, the formation of the Virginia Beach Department of EMS, his work with Tidewater EMS Council, his work on numerous State boards and commissions to include the State EMS Advisory Board and the Virginia State Board of Health and many other accomplishments too numerous to mention, leaves behind a legacy of a life of service to his community, the Commonwealth, and most importantly to his fellow man. Bruce was a gentleman that I am proud to have been able to call a colleague and friend. My sincerest condolences and God’s Blessings to his family and to the EMS family he leaves behind. Rest easy from your labors my friend and know that your good work will continue on. Gary Critzer

  4. If you provide Emergency Medical Services in Virginia, lead an Emergency Medical Services organization in Virginia, or for that matter have ever required Emergency Medical Services in Virginia, you were impacted by the life and servant leadership of Bruce Edwards (8/31/1947 – 8/22/2020). He was a true EMS pioneer. He was actually providing EMS, leading an EMS agency and creating a responsive, coordinated and effective EMS system in Virginia when most Americans were just beginning to learn about EMS in the early 1970’s from watching the “Emergency” TV show. The “firsts” from Bruce Edward’s lifetime list of accomplishments serve as markers for the development of EMS in Virginia; First Executive Director of the Virginia Beach Coronary Care Program and first among the resulting “Cardiac Technicians”; Developer of the Cardiac Care Symposium, the precursor of the eventual Virginia EMS Symposium; Charter member of the Virginia Association of Governmental EMS Administrators; Director of the one of the largest all volunteer EMS systems serving a major city; Founder and first Director of the Virginia Beach Department of EMS; First Virginia Paramedic; First EMS Representative on the Virginia Board of Health; and, First EMS Representative to Chair the Virginia Board of Health. His career was built on local service in Virginia Beach, regional service with the Tidewater EMS Council, state service with the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads, The Virginia Association of Governmental EMS Administrators and the State EMS Advisory Board and its many committees, and finally the Virginia Board of Health. Along the way, his personal drive to excel and to accept nothing but excellence from others, his passion for EMS, and his love of mentoring anyone who shared his passion, led Bruce, his organizations and his many mentees to awards, accolades and professional recognitions too numerous to count. More important by far however, was his demonstrated personal belief in and commitment to his family, friends, and community. His love of family and community defined a personal character and demeanor that changed those who knew him for the better. Bruce Edwards was often outspoken, frequently funny, always courteous and generous. He was an honorable man and my friend. I will miss him.

    I pray that Almighty God will care for and console Bruce’s family and friends as they grieve his loss.

    I pray that all of us who continue in Emergency Medical Services, will serve others as Bruce Edwards did, with compassion, courtesy, and competence.

  5. I have worked with Bruce Edward for over 20 years in the EMS. Bruce was a true leader and I learned so much from him. I can’t explain how much I will miss him and his wisdom. He was a true friend and an inspiration to all. I will miss you Bruce!

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