Emergency personnel honored in Dawson

DAWSON?- The Riverfest in Dawson was off to an amazing start with its festivities on Friday evening.

Canoe races took place in the river. There was a strong showing of participants, and the high river and current couldn’t keep them from competing.

Shortly after, there was the boat parade. Although there weren’t many floats, it seemed as if everyone in the community was there to view the parade. There were three floats in all – a camouflage turtle, a Sun Drop bottle and a rubber duck followed by a train of smaller ducks.

The big event of the night was the opening ceremony. It was there that the EMT and First Responder gnome of the year was unveiled.

Part of the ceremony included people telling stories about why the EMT and First Responders deserved this “gnomination,” and how they have positively influenced their community.

Dick, one of those who shared a story, was among first to speak. He told the crowd about how the organization came to be.

“In the ’60s, there were no EMTs. It was the mortician’s job to answer any emergency call, and they didn’t have an ambulance. If someone needed to be taken to the hospital, they were brought in a hearse with deep velvet interior,” he said.

“Eventually, they wrote a letter to the city saying they would no longer be providing this service, and other arrangements needed to be made,” he said.

To get started, he invited his TV and radio students from school to set up for a fundraiser. The students would be on the local access channel all day to promote their cause. Businesses in town had it playing for everyone to see all day. The bank in town had agreed to match up to $2,000 in funds. Needless to say, by the end of the day, they had what they needed to train 18 EMTs.

Many people got up and told their stories about how the EMTs and First Responders had made an impact in their life. One that was especially heartfelt came from Milo Reed.

“Two years ago, I was mowing my lawn. In a hurry to get done since it was the Fourth of July weekend, I went to grab a weed without turning off the mower. Next thing I knew, my leg was caught underneath it. I couldn’t turn it off, so I grabbed my cell phone. First I tried my wife, but she didn’t answer. So I called 911. The Boyd First Responders were there instantly. Ann, an EMT from Dawson, wasn’t even on call, but since she didn’t know who would all be around on the busy weekend, she came to the rescue,” Reed said.

Reed lost his left leg from the knee down in the accident, but emergency personnel were there to help him as soon as they could.

Almost everyone at the ceremony had a connection to the EMTs and First Responders in one way or another. The community was very proud of everything they had done.

“These people are wonderful and very much needed. We all appreciate them very much,” Ruth Solem said.