Yamel Merino began her career as a professional EMS provider with Metro North Ambulance in 1998. She was a single mother who was working to provide for her young son doing something she loved, comforting others in their darkest hours. Over the years Yamel proved herself an able clinician who excelled at what is often the hardest skill to master, compassion.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed. She was promoted to the position of Field Training Officer in 1999 and along with her partner Alisande Santiago was named as the agency’s EMT of the Year in 2000. It was also in December of 2000 that she transferred from the transport division of the company (then called MetroCare) to the 911 division answering calls in the New York City 911 system. She was assigned to provide emergency care aboard ambulances that were turned out of Einstein Medical Center in the Bronx.
Beyond being a dedicated and hard working provider, Yamel was fun loving with a unique sense of humor. Patients would sometimes worry that Yamel would be unable to lift them, but she would assure them that she had eaten her spinach and then amaze them by doing exactly what they thought she wasn’t capable of. She was known to lend an ear to those in need, to offer support without request to her co-workers along with a quick chuckle to break the tension during stressful times, and was determined to provide the best for her son who she loved and adored above all else. Yamel was also on the path to fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse when the events of September 11 interrupted and ultimately took her life.
This is a video that Yamel’s brother Bryant created for her memorial in 2009: