Community Establishes EMT Endowment Fund in Memory of Cancer Victim

Dick Peterson was an EMT-Intermediate, firefighter


NANCY WILLETT, Telegraph Herald | | Monday, April 30, 2012

DUBUQUE, Iowa -- We've all heard the siren, just as we are going about our daily lives here in The Territory; this very loud "Wurrrrrrrrr" permeates the air. Our first thoughts may be, "I wonder what happened? Is there a fire somewhere? Oh, I hope it didn't happen to someone I know." Then, "Boy, I'm glad there are people who know how to help."

We are fortunate to have the brave and willing volunteers who make up the Scales Mound Fire Protection District (SMFPD). They protect our lives and property in a 100-square mile area here in Jo Daviess County. They are firefighters and they are Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel.

Our friend Dick Peterson was an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT.) He spent that part of his time helping people in distress and saving lives. If this sounds very noble, it's meant to, because it is very much above and beyond what we as ordinary people usually do.

We lost Dick Peterson last month after his valiant battle with lung cancer. His contributions to our community were many, and he touched so many lives. We want to honor Dick's memory as we encourage others like him to serve as EMTs.

Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund
The Galena Territory Foundation and the Peterson family are honored to announce the establishment of the Galena Territory Foundation "Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund." The fund will be used to help applicants who are volunteers associated with the Scales Mound Fire Protection District who want to become an EMT. Oversight will be provided by the GTF -- with committee assistance overseeing the Endowment Fund.

Tom Winter is the EMS Coordinator for Galena Ambulance. He explained the EMT program to me in an effort to, as he put it, "help get this wonderful project underway.

"Emergency Medical Services in Jo Daviess County is separate from, but partners with, the fire departments. We work together and train together, but operate as separate entities," Winter explained. "Rich Peterson was a member of both the Scales Mound Fire Protection District and the Galena Area Emergency Medical Services District. Scales Mound Fire/Galena Territory Fire act as first responders, which means they act as the first "layer" of response for the citizens of their district. They are often the first emergency personnel that walk through your door and arrive on a scene. Galena EMS is the transport and treatment side of the equation. We arrive with the ambulance, render additional emergency treatment and transport to the hospital.

"EMTs have four levels of education," Winter continued. "EMT-FR is a first responder and is trained in CPR, life support and trauma treatment skills. EMT-B is a Basic EMT and is trained in the same way as a first responder, with additional training in advanced cardiac monitoring skills and an increased awareness of medical and trauma emergencies. EMT-I is an EMT intermediate and is trained in all of the skills previously mentioned, plus learns IV access techniques, advanced airway techniques and pharmacology. Finally, an EMT-P is a paramedic with all of the previous mentioned skills, but has enhanced training in pharmacology and other advanced skills."

EMS education has evolved into a very expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Most classes last between nine months and two years. Costs, which can exceed $5,000 to educate a single, new responder, include such items as tuition, books, travel expenses and basic equipment.

"We were honored that Rich was a part of both organizations," Winter added. "Rich was an EMT - Intermediate. As such, he was among the short list of people who could render the highest level of care we offer as an ambulance service. He also responded with the fire department and was frequently among the first people at a scene. Rich was notable in that he sought out a class and paid for his own advanced EMT training. Rich was, up to the day he died, an integral part of our ambulance service. He was a stalwart volunteer of both his time and talents. He could be counted on to be thoughtful, generous, capable and most important - caring. I don't think he realized just how skilled he was as an EMT. I had the honor of working with Rich and counting him among my friends. His was a life well lived."

So, as you can see, the idea for this Endowment Fund will be a wonderful benefit to the community and a lasting tribute to Rich Peterson. The Galena Territory Foundation is happy to pursue this effort and contribute to the welfare of our community.

In the next few months we will be organizing the administrative committee for the Endowment Fund. We will be looking for a few good people to help. What can you do to help?

1. You can contribute. Write a check to the GTF in the name of the "Richard Peterson EMT Endowment Fund" and drop it off at the GTA Administrative Office, or mail it to the Galena Territory Foundation, 2000 Territory Drive, Galena, IL 61036.

2. You can donate a bit of your time to be a member of the Endowment Fund Committee. We will need to determine the parameters and administration of the awarded funds. For example, who will receive the funds, and at which level of EMT training should the recipients become eligible for the funds?

Minimal time will be required and maximal good feelings from the efforts put forth will be obtained. If you are so inclined, contact me to become part of this endeavor at

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