FOSTER TOWNSHIP, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An event was held to honor the first responders involved in the Interstate 81 pileup crash that was caused last month during a snow squall.

Hundreds of first responders jumped into action to rescue dozens of people trapped on the interstate three weeks ago.

Local officials honored them for their bravery and time committed to our community. The morning of Monday, March 28 began like any other but quickly turned horrific.

A moment of silence for the 6 people who died and several others injured in the I-81 disaster last month in Schuylkill County.

The Wegmans Distribution Center in Pottsville played a critical role that day in housing the crash victims and welcomed the first responders back to be honored by the community.

Several local lawmakers were in attendance.

“This was perhaps the worst of its kind in Pennsylvania history. Without the trained professionals and volunteers this could have been so much worse,” stated Senator Dave Argall.

Fire chief Eric Eichenberg of Minersville rescue was one of six honored representing all those who responded on that horrific yet heroic day.

“I’m only one of the hundreds of volunteers yes it’s humbling the respect that we’ve received and the accolades we’ve received from everyone,” explained Eichenberg.

Many legislators took the time to stress the important role volunteer firefighters and ems personnel play in our communities.

“The need is dire at this point,” said Mike Mistishen.

Mistishen the director of operations, Goodwill Fire and EMS Minersville says the state is down to under 40 thousand volunteers 25 years ago there were 300 thousand.

“The volunteer role played a huge role in this instance on the fire and rescue side as we as the ems side just because of the quick responses that we did have and the number of people that showed up the handle the true chaos that really was there on that day,” explained Mistishen.

More than 50 organizations and agencies were involved in the rescue and cleanup all appreciated for their service last month and every day.