Cambridge woman named EMT-I of Year

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

    Wanda Hepner of Cambridge was named EMT-I of the Year at the Trinity Medical Center EMS banquet held May 3 at River House in Moline.

    According to Hepner, the award was a surprise not only to her but to those who attended with her.

    “Nobody knew,” she said. “My husband and my daughter, friends and the rest of the ambulance service went, and nobody knew, so it was a complete surprise to us.”

    Hepner has been on the Cambridge ambulance service for 15 years, and coordinator for approximately 10 of those years.

    Working at Country Companies in Cambridge, she is one of the three EMTs in town who are regularly available for daytime calls.

    At night, some of the other 15 EMTs are also available.

    Yes, she said, the ambulance crew could always use more dedicated people.

    “I truly enjoy helping people. It’s just something I like to do,” she said. “It’s fulfilling most of the time. You have heartaches. And some of the people are appreciative and some are unappreciative, but overall it’s very fulfilling.”

    Jim Verslis, EMS educator for Trinity, said Hepner said has been “a key” to Cambridge maintaining its intermediate level service.

    “She’s willing and she does take a lot of calls. Cambridge is in good shape (with I-level ambulance service) and Wanda is one of the reasons,” he added.

    “Intermediate” ambulance service is above the “EMT-A” level that is the basic level.

    At the intermediate level, EMTs can start IVs, give medications, intubate patients and monitor cardiac rhythms.

    “For a service to be at the intermediate level is an accomplishment,” continued Verslis.

    He added most rural ambulance services with volunteers are not at intermediate level because many people are reluctant to go through the required training for which the modest compensation is on a per-call basis.