Change is in the air for Tomah Area Ambulance Service.
Friday TAAS held a recognition ceremony for the department’s first captain and six full-time paramedics, which allows TAAS to staff one ambulance 24/7.
Heather Daley is the department’s new captain. She has been employed by TAAS since 2007, when she began as a volunteer EMT. In August 2012 she was promoted to full-time office manager.
A 2001 graduate of Tomah High School, Daley served in the United States Air Force as an airfield manager and supervised airmen during her tenure. She also worked as a police dispatcher for the Fort McCoy Police and Monroe County 9-1-1 Communications Center while she put herself through EMT and later paramedic training, which she completed in July 2013.
Randy Dunford, TAAS director, said Daley was instrumental in upgrading TAAS to the paramedic level of service and has shown to be a responsible, competent and impressive employee.
“Heather ... continues to reveal a level of persistence, dedication and an impressive work ethic that greatly contributes to the mission of TAAS,” he said. “(Her) leadership is an example to follow. (She) has earned the opportunity to be entrusted with higher responsibilities ... I am confident that (she) will set an example for the other employees and be an excellent leader of this organization.”
The full-time paramedics recognized include Daley, Brandon Sibert, Adam Robarge, Jeremy Schaller, Christopher Brigson and Jason Renaud.
Sibert is a 2005 graduate of Mauston High School. After high school he attended Western Technical College and in 2011 he graduated from Kaplan University with a degree in criminal justice. He was hired as a volunteer EMT by TAAS in May 2012, the same year he completed his EMT training. Also in 2012 Sibert began paramedic training through Mid-State Technical College, which he completed in 2014. He was hired as a full-time paramedic in 2015. He also serves as an EMS instructor at MSTC and is TAAS’ training officer.
Robarge graduated from Tomah High School in 1997 and attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he studied accounting and management. In 2001 he was hired as a volunteer EMT with TAAS. Robarge has also served with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Reserve and Monroe County 9-1-1 Communications Center. In 2014 he completed a two-year paramedic program and was promoted in 2016 as a full-time paramedic. He is the current president of the Monroe County Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Association.
Schaller is a 2004 Tomah High School graduate and served in the Wisconsin Army National Guard as a combat medic from 2006 to 2012. From 2009 to 2010 he was deployed to Iraq. In 2008 Schaller was a volunteer EMT, and in 2014 he completed his paramedic training. He is also a certified nursing assistant, and from February 2012 to December 2015 he was employed as a nursing assistant at the Tomah VA Medical Center. From November 2016 to December 2017 he served as an emergency room technician with Tomah Memorial Hospital and in December 2017 he was hired as a full-time paramedic with TAAS.
Brigson is a 2001 graduate of Onalaska High School. In 2010 he completed his paramedic training through Western Technical College. In March 2010 Brigson was hired as a paramedic by the Sparta Area Ambulance Service and was hired by TAAS as a part-time paramedic in July 2014. In 2015 he received a critical care paramedic license through Gundersen Health System of La Crosse. He began with TAAS Jan. 1.
Renaud graduated in 2003 after being home-schooled in Warrens. In 2007 he joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard, where he is serving as a staff sergeant. Renaud attended the Army Combat Engineer School. From November 2008 to December 2009 he was deployed in Afghanistan. In 2013 Renaud received an associate degree in criminal justice from Western Technical College, and in 2014 he completed his paramedic training and is currently taking classes through WTC for business management. From February 2015 to April he was a full-time paramedic for TAAS and was a part-time paramedic for Camp Douglas Rescue from October 2015 to August 2017. In August 2017 Renaud was hired as a part-time paramedic by TAAS.
Brenda Preuss, TAAS’ first full-time bookkeeper, who was hired in August 2017, was also recognized. She is a 1991 graduate of Westby High School, nd in 1993 she received an associate degree in the administrative assistant program at Western Technical College. She has worked in bookkeeping and accounting positions most of her adult life. She is currently enrolled through the National Ambulance Compliance for an ambulance billing coding certification.