Wohlfeil recalls three decades in EMS
By Kana Coonce
ALMOND – Nurse Patti Wohlfeil never expected to spend so long serving with the Almond EMS, but this month, the Almond Fire Department honored her for 30 years.
“I’m very proud of what I have been a part of,” Wohlfeil said, emphasizing that while the job is stressful in many ways, it’s vital for communities to have people performing these services.
“There’s never enough [people in EMS],” she said. “That’s an issue.”
Wohlfeil was a nurse for several years by the time she first assisted someone under the jurisdiction of EMS.
A man had had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and happened to stop near her driveway. After seating him in one of her lawn chairs, she called EMS to ask their guidance before she went forward with treating him.
Despite the urging from her husband and the fire chief at the time to join EMS, Wohlfeil had to wait until her children were old enough to look after themselves before she could make the commitment to join.
At the time, there were few licensed nurses in EMS, which was still a relatively new concept in Wisconsin.
Almond EMS accepts people from all backgrounds.
Being in a rural area like Almond, EMS members range from firefighters to farmers to nurses to young people eager to help out in the community.
Wohlfeil recalled a time her husband, who had been doing farm work, responded to a call in his tractor.
“The people who are hurt or needing help have never cared,” she said, arguing that EMS members’ dedication to saving lives is what has always mattered most.
Being in such a rural area, EMS is often the closest available to help, which in a life-or-death situation is key.
On Jan.13, Wohlfeil retired from her job in the health sector.
“I’ve been a nurse since 1980,” Wohlfeil said. “It’s time to close the door in some ways and open it in other ways and it seemed like the right time.”
She said that she will be focusing her efforts on giving back to the community in other ways, such as through her church, and urges others to give back in any way they can.
“You want someone there. Pay it forward. When it’s your turn, don’t you want someone there to take care of you?” she inquired.