Emergency personnel rose to the occasion during the disaster drill at Central High School on Tuesday, said Dr. Kimberly Lansing, mentor of three medical students who planned the exercise.

“I saw the firefighters in the swarming smoke. I could see it in their eyes — oh, wow, this is serious,” said Lansing, director of the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine’s (WARM) western campus at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse.

The WARM students who did the lion’s share of planning for the drill are Emily Ramharter, Jordan Gozdzialski and Brad Peterson.

They did so as a community project because La Crosse County’s application for a Homeland Security grant fell through, said Keith Butler, the county’s emergency management coordinator.

As it turned out, they spent less than $200 on the event, Lansing said, because so many volunteers pitched in.

Among the volunteers were those cast in the roles of injured students, including University of Wisconsin medical students, WARM students and Central and Logan high school students at the Health Science Academy. Viterbo University and UW-La Crosse students were the makeup artists for the gruesome wounds.

“This was a good example of town and gown … integrating the schools and the community working together,” she said.


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