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EMT honored for 20 years of service - Rebecca Schmidt

By Angie Rodenburg

Fri, Sep 13th, 2013
Posted in All Features

Rebecca Schmidt, a critical care paramedic with Tri-State Ambulance was recently recognized by the Board of Directors of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians for achieving 20 consecutive years as a Nationally Registered EMT. This distinction is an honor held by few EMTs.

Schmidt was Nationally Registered as a paramedic in 1993 and has been serving the La Crosse, Wis. community since 1993. Prior to the position, Schmidt volunteered for the Wykoff, Minn. and Spring Valley, Minn. communities.

Schmidt got into volunteering in 1985 after hearing that Wykoff’s ambulance crew was shorthanded. Schmidt recalls her first call terrifying her and making her feel that she needed more education. This desire to keep learning how to be a better EMT is what drove Schmidt to enroll in the University of Iowa’s paramedic program. Schmidt said that Jim Cooper, the Spring Valley ambulance director, encouraged her the most in her decision to become a paramedic.

In the last 20 years Schmidt has been on thousands of calls; some devastating, some encouraging. She’s experienced the grief of losing children, but also the joy of delivering babies. Schmidt says, “The job is hard and taxing, but it’s so rewarding.”

Being an EMT has also had an effect on her family life. Schmidt says her husband of 35 years, two children and two stepchildren have felt the strain of life with a paramedic. However, regardless of the stress and uncertainty of when calls would come, they’ve always backed her 100 percent, says Schmidt. She says that her career has made her a stronger person and better able to handle crisis, both professionally and in her personal life.

Along with its challenges, being an EMT also comes with many rewards. A few of Schmidt’s favorite things about being an EMT are that she is able to help people, be on the road, and that no day is ever the same. Recently Schmidt injured her shoulder and feared she would no longer be able to work. She is thankful though that she will be able to return to the field in a few short months.

When asked why there are such a limited amount of EMTs today, Schmidt said, “The programs are so much tougher now. The basic class requires 140 hours. It is a huge commitment for a volunteer to make. Volunteering though is a huge help to the community. The person you’re saving could be your neighbor, friend, or family member.” For those interested in the medical field, Schmidt suggests becoming a volunteer EMT since there is plenty of down-time to study and a person can also gain real life experience.

Being an EMT for 20 years has had its ups and downs for Schmidt, but reflecting on her experience she says, “It’s given me a good life. I’ve been happy and loved doing my job.” Schmidt hopes to be able to serve her community as an EMT for another 10 years.


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8:27:47, Sep 16th 2013

My mom. Finally getting the recognition she has always deserved!


8:49:34, Sep 24th 2013 says:
Congratulations Arden and Judy Willford

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