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VanDenheuvel retires from ambulance crew after 32 years of service


by Trinity Gruenberg


Breaking out his blue EMT jacket he first received in the 1990s, Russ VanDenheuvel recalled the last 32 years he served on the Bertha Ambulance crew as he prepares to retire at the end of February.

VanDenheuvel once served as the city’s police officer. It was customary at the time to also serve on the ambulance and fire department. He ceased being a police officer in 1998 but remained an EMT and fireman with a goal to serve 20 years.

He began his EMT career on September 1, 1989. His first ambulance call was for an 8-year-old child that was choking. The child, thankfully, was fine.

VanDenheuvel’s first partner on the rig was Brad Braaten. He looked up to his mentors: Gaylen Schultz, Gary Kleen, Don Snorek and more.

“It’s an honor to be on the ambulance,” said VanDenheuvel. . .



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