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Schultz retires from First Responders

Stan Schultz (center) received a plaque for his 34 years of service to the Osakis First Responders from (left) Craig Dropik, First Responders president, and (right) Mayor Keith Emerson at the Monday, July 11 City Council meeting. (Photo by Roberta Olson, Osakis Review)

Stan Schultz has officially retired from serving on the Osakis First Responders, after 34 years of service.

While his service did not begin when the Osakis Volunteer Ambulance system included a hearse as a transport vehicle, he remembers that era. Schultz began his training about eight years after the Osakis Ambulance Service was started.

Training as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for Schultz included about 90 hours of classroom, followed by 20 hours of observation in the Alexandria Hospital Emergency Room. Today’s First Responders must complete 120 hours of training before becoming certified.

In order to maintain first responder status, volunteers must be re-certified every two years, following a 24-36 hour refresher course.

Last year, Schultz became certified as an EMT, which is a level above first responder, and one level below paramedic status.

Schultz recalls no special reason why he originally volunteered for the emergency medical service. “I just wanted to help,” he said. “I had always been interested in it.”

Once certified, Schultz, as are all the volunteers, was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless out of town, or on vacation.

When a 911 call goes out, volunteers drop everything and rush to the Osakis Fire Hall where the first responder truck and its equipment are ready to answer the call. The first three or four members to the Fire Hall answer the call and ride in the truck, which has room for about six to eight responders, along with all the equipment.

First responder is just that, the first medical help on the scene, to stabilize emergency victims and get them ready for paramedics from North Ambulance to transport to the Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria.

When Osakis still had its ambulance service, the victims would be transported by Osakis Ambulance, and the paramedics would jump in the Osakis rig and go with the first responders. The local ambulance service was phased out about 12 years ago.

Schultz has seen a lot of changes over the 34 years of his service, especially in the technology and equipment now being used.

“We have the defibrillator, the biggest change that we have had since the start,” he said. There are also heart monitors, automatic compressor machines to help with the CPR part of the process, the Lucas machine, and other equipment upgrades.

LOTS OF CALLS

Schultz does not remember his very first call as a first responder, but he remembers a couple of the first serious vehicle accidents on the I-94 freeway that he answered.

The Osakis Ambulance coverage area originally was a 20-mile radius from Osakis, but now the coverage areas overlap with Alexandria, Long Prairie and Sauk Centre. Life Link is also on standby in the Osakis coverage area.

“We all work together,” Schultz said.

While Schultz has never had to dial 911 for himself or a family emergency, he has responded to calls from friends and neighbors. There have been many bad accidents, fires and fatal car accidents. There were a half dozen drownings over the years, and a couple gunshot fatalities.

“The worst part is you know a lot of the people involved. That’s the worst part,” he said.

Schultz has experienced the medical system firsthand over the past several years, as he became a candidate for a heart transplant, and spent three and a half months in the Twin Cities hospitals waiting for a donor, and then recovering from the transplant.

Now he is doing most everything he did before his transplant, but has a new respect for the medical world.

“I want everybody to be aware of the donor program,” he said, “because this falls in line with the first responders and emergency medicine. It’s the first step that we (responders) deal with. If it gets worse, it progresses into heart transplant and the donor program.

“The final step with emergency medicine,” he said, “is to see somebody that you save or recover from something like that.”

Schultz emphasizes, “I worked with a lot of fantastic people over the years, starting out with the original EMT course up until today. You meet a lot of nice people. Most of the people are super to work with. I appreciated being able to do it.”

FAMILY

Stan Schulz is an Osakis native, and has spent his entire life in the little city on the lake. Forty and a half years ago he married Bonnie Manders, a Twin Cities girl whose grandfather, Lou Manders, lived on Lake Osakis. They have two sons and a daughter.

Schultz has owned and operated his general contracting business, Stan Schultz Construction, in Osakis for 37 years. The couple has also owned and operated the Two Mile Trailer Park and Campgrounds on the west side of Lake Osakis for 22 years.

Son Jason and his wife, Renee, have a son, Easton, age 4, and a daughter, Alayna, age 6, and live in Osakis. Jason works full time for Alexandria Ambulance, and part time in construction with his father.

Craig and his wife, Mandy, have a son named Parker, age 4, and a daughter, McKenna, age 1. They also live in Osakis. Craig works full time with his father in construction.

Daughter Ashley is married to Mike Shrode, and they have a son, Liam, who is 8 months old. They live in Ham Lake.

Stan continues to work in the general construction business full time, and is widely known for his custom-made press boxes.

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