The Spring Valley City Council honored local EMTs and First Responders for their service to the community throughout the year.  In front, from left, are Ted Sherwood, Mike Zimmer, Jim McCabe and Jas Caffrey.  In the middle row are Tami Edgar, Regina Haflinger and Sue Puffer.  In the back row are councilmembers Todd Jones, Jim Struzyk, Tony Archer and Bill Bires.  PAULA VAGTS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The Spring Valley City Council honored local EMTs and First Responders for their service to the community throughout the year. In front, from left, are Ted Sherwood, Mike Zimmer, Jim McCabe and Jas Caffrey. In the middle row are Tami Edgar, Regina Haflinger and Sue Puffer. In the back row are councilmembers Todd Jones, Jim Struzyk, Tony Archer and Bill Bires. PAULA VAGTS/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Just who are Ted Sherwood, Mike Zimmer, Jim McCabe, Jas Caffrey, Tami Edgar, Regina Haeflinger and Sue Puffer?

Angels without wings...who have definitely earned them.

Paper will have to do, however - the Spring Valley Ambulance Service recognized those angels, its emergency medical technicians (EMT) and first responders, Monday evening, Dec. 9, with certificates for hours served on call within the past year. Haeflinger was honored for giving over 2,000 hours on call, Puffer, over 1,750 hours, McCabe, Zimmer and Sherwood, over 1,500 hours, and Edgar and Caffrey for their over 1,200 hours of on-call time. The total hours the group has given comprises half of the volunteer hours for all volunteer EMTs combined, covering 70 percent of holiday on-call hours.

McCabe is one of the service's original EMTs, according to Spring Valley City Administrator Deb Zimmer, who related that he started as an EMT in 1974 when Wally Osland owned the ambulance service. This coming March, the service will be 40 years old.

The service incorporated as a city entity in 1986, and Zimmer also pointed out that the EMTs who have served throughout the past three decades have remained faithful.

"Looking back at prior years, these same EMTs are at the top of the list for volunteer hours, so theirs is not just a one-time commitment," she said. "They are an amazing, very selfless group who give a lot of time to make sure there is coverage should someone need the ambulance. They get up in the middle of the night to respond to a call, and still get up in the morning to go to work or school. They give up holiday time with family and friends to respond to a call. They have used vacation time to make sure the call schedule is filled. It would be very difficult to have an ambulance service without this very dedicated group of volunteers."

The businesses at which Spring Valley's EMTs work were also acknowledged during the awards presentation- the value of being allowed to leave to answer an ambulance call could not be summed up in monetary terms.

Zimmer and Spring Valley Ambulance Director Jim Cooper stated that the service is always seeking new EMTs.

"I would suggest that anyone interested in becoming an EMT speak with one of these volunteers to hear what is involved," said Zimmer. "There will be an EMT class starting after the first of the year."

Cooper explained what the service is currently in need of, saying, "We're looking for as many people as we can get to cover the various hours of day-to-day uncovered time. Some of it is daytime hours, some of it is nighttime hours, some of it is holiday hours, from eight to 10 hours at a time. We're always looking for people willing to take the necessary training so that we can provide an ambulance 24-seven, 365 days a year. While we're also in need of first responders, we're primarily looking for EMTs to provide patient care. We're starting another EMT class on Jan. 16, and it's an online blended learning class - most of it is online, but we meet seven to eight times to learn skills and practice scenarios."

Cooper encouraged interested persons to log onto the Spring Valley Ambulance Service website at www.springvalleyambulance.com to peruse the course requirements and description, or for further information, to contact the ambulance station at (507) 346-7414.