Grace Merrill’s contribution to area EMS celebrated

/Earlene Frederick photo

Everybody in emergency medical services in this area knows who Grace Merrill is. A lot of them could have been her student at some point. She has been taking care of the residents of Salem Lakes and Wheatland for decades and has taught a couple of generations of emergency medical responders.

Merrill was recognized for her commitment to EMS last weekend at the Town of Wheatland Fire Department’s annual Firemen’s Festival. TWFD Chief Lou Denko surprised her with the recognition for her service to EMS.

Among Merrill’s contributions are:

  • EMS instructor since 1984
  • WEMSA (Wisconsin Emergency Medical Services Association)  since 1989
  • Took CPR in 1978
  • EMT class in 1979
  • (Emergency Medical Services).

There was standing room only in the apparatus bay of the Wheatland Fire Station last Saturday when the presentation was made.

Speakers included: her daughter Kim Daniels; Pam Oldenburg, Salem Lakes Fire/Rescue and EMS instructor; state Rep. Samantha Kerkman; Ross Marshall, retired Chief at Town of Burlington Fire Department; and Bill Beetschen, , currently Winthrop Harbor Fire Department Deputy Chief.

Kim spoke about both of her parents. How they started in EMS, together, by taking a CPR course in 1978. A highlight in her call history, Grace delivered a baby, who became her godchild. She started what has become a family legacy. A number of her family have followed in her footsteps. 

EMT class followed in 1979 taught by Bill Beetschen. Bill says Grace remembers all students, can tell you about all her students, and tell you a personal anecdote about each student. “Grace didn’t want to do this (EMS), she had to.”

Grace spent 25 years responding to calls for Salem Rescue. Since 1998 she has been a first responder for Wheatland Fire Department.

Following are videos from the night (video by Earlene Frederick):

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