As the Waunakee EMS District celebrates its 40th year, an unveiling of a monument expressing appreciation for all the volunteers is planned to mark the occasion.
At the June 6 Waunakee Rotary meeting, EMS Director Scott Russell talked about the district and its milestones over the past four decades.
It was founded in 1979 with 13 original members, including its first director, George Kolb.
Scott noted that the district is not municipally owned. WWDDVS comprises six municipalities – Waunakee, the towns of Westport and Dane, the Village of Dane, and the towns of Vienna and Springfield.
It once covered 102 square miles but recently has been modified so that the Lodi EMS can respond to a portion of the Town of Dane, cutting down the response time.
In 1981, the station at 201 N. Klein Drive was dedicated; prior to that, EMTs had no place to stay and ambulances were kept at members’ homes.
In the 1990s, AEDs, or defibrillators, were added to the ambulances.
“This was a big deal back then,” Scott said. “This was the first time they had the capability of shocking the patient and not waiting until they got to the hospital.”
In 2001, the ambulances were first capable of transmitting ECG readings to the hospital to prepare medical staff for the patient’s arrival.
In 2002, the EMS went from a basic service to I-tech service, allowing EMTs to administer intravenous drugs and IO drugs into bone marrow.
Then in 2011, the EMS station was remodeled.
“This was a huge undertaking,” Scott said. “Up until that point, at the old station, people used to have to share one dorm room.”
Now, volunteers have their own room. Scott noted in the late 2000s, competition for volunteers was “cutthroat,” and the remodeled EMS station made the Waunakee district more attractive to EMTs looking to volunteer.
Scott began with the district in 2015 as the first full-time director. Since then, the district has hired three full-time employees, along with a licensed service administrator, bringing the total of full-time staff to five, including Scott.
The WWDDVS area has grown from 8,700 people in 1979 to 21,735 people today, Scott said.
The call volume has grown, as well. Last year, EMS received 1,286 calls; so far this year its up to 1,400.
“Overall, it’s been amazing how long we’ve kept volunteers. We needed to find a way to thank everybody for such a job well done,” Scott said.
A memorial now in the making is designed to do just that.
It will be unveiled at 6:30 p.m. June 26 with refreshments served afterwards.
Scott thanked the club for their donations that made the project possible.
Other News:
Also at Monday’s meeting, the recipients of the Rotary scholarship introduced themselves. Alyssa Kuhn (Grand Canyon University), Chezney Phelps (UW-Madison), Amy Beczkiewicz (UW-Madison) and Max Christian (UW-Madison) will all enter college in the fall. We wish them all the best.
Guests: Scott Russell (speaker); Alyssa Kuhn, David Kuhn, Chezney Phelps, Lori Phelps, Kevin Phelps, Amy Beczkiewicz, Duane Beczkiewicz, Sandy Beczkiewicz, Max Christian and Nicole Christian, guests of the club; Chris Kenney, guest of Chris Kenney.
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Birthdays: June 18, Dan Statz.
Anniversaries: None.
Programs: June 13, Club Assembly and Jenny on her student exchange experience; June 20, George Petak, the vote that built Miller Park; June 27???; July 11, Club Assembly.
Greeters: June 13, Ellen Schaaf and Todd Schmidt; June 20,  Jim Schmitz and Phil Simon; June 27, David Statz and Harriet Statz.