Rural EMTs fight to take control of nonprofit ambulance company

A group of former EMTs drafted a proposal to take over Rural Medical, which has been out of service since the majority of its volunteer EMTs quit

By EMS1 Staff

DARLINGTON, Wis. — A group of former EMTs are fighting to take control of a nonprofit ambulance company that has been out of service.

Channel 3000 reported that the former EMTs proposed that the current board give them control of Rural Medical, which has been mainly out of service since April.

Former employee Jeff Berget said the majority of Rural Medical’s volunteer EMTs quit because they said they were being treated unfairly.

“When you volunteer, you're doing something. You're putting hours and hours of your time in for virtually nothing,” Berget said. “When you're treated poorly there's no reason to stay.”

Chairman Dave Ohnstad refuted the accusation.

“It's quite a stretch to believe that having the crew walk out on the community without notice, thereby jeopardizing the safety and well-being of the residents in the ambulance district, can be described as diplomacy,” he said.

Mayor David Breunig called the dispute a “power struggle” and doesn’t want the community to suffer as a result.

The city has been contracting services out to Paramount Ambulance since the volunteer EMTs quit, and Breunig said he wants it to return to local service.

“When you go to a scene the people appreciate having a volunteer EMT that they more than likely will know,” he said. “They'll know them, or they will know their family, and that goes a long way.”

City officials said they are open to any resolution, but the volunteers want to see change.

“All the volunteers want to come back and serve the community,” Berget said. “The best way to do that is we need to remove the politics, and it needs to become a member-run service.” 

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