Unique fundraiser for first responders - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Unique fundraiser for first responders

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Osseo (WQOW) - The Osseo Rural Fire Department has found a unique way to raise funds for its first responders.

The department has six volunteer responders right now, but they're often unavailable for calls.

The community is getting involved to help pay for new recruits.

First responders are trained and prepared to handle those vital initial minutes of a medical emergency.

"That five to ten minutes is huge," says first responder Kari Steen.

Osseo's Rural Fire Department relies on six certified volunteers to answer the call and provide aid, often before the ambulance arrives.

"Each first responder carries their own bag and defibrillator and radio and pager," says Steen.

But they can only help if they're near the call and available, something that doesn't always happen with a staff of six.

"I'm usually available during the day and one or two others, so we really are seeing a need for more," says Steen.

"We feel very fortunate with the fire department and the first responders that we have.  They're awesome.  They're there when you need them, they respond quickly, they know what they're doing," says general manager of the Norske Nook Kaffee Haus Maggie Luallen.

Businesses are serving up their support by taking part in a unique fundraiser.

"We're doing like a progressive dinner.  We've got five different businesses that have agreed to help us out with this," says Steen.

"This is the first progressive dinner that I have heard of in the area.  For them to incorporate everybody in the community in an event like this, I think it really benefits the whole area," says Heidi Myren-Becker.

A bus will make stops at the restaurants where those who purchase a $35 ticket get a meal course at each stop.

"We are going to be the final stop before they go back to the ball field.  We will be serving tortes for their dessert," says Luallen.

The goal is to raise enough money to equip eight new first responder trainees who are in school now and should be certified by the end of the year.

"To train and equip a first responder will cost about $4,000," says Steen.

An amount restaurants hope to reach by offering up their food for the fundraiser.

"Unfortunately there are occasions when we even have to call them and have them come to the Norske Nook for somebody, so we are extremely fortunate to have them here in the area," says Myren-Becker.

"A lot of times I'll be the only one that responds and it's always nice, no matter what the case, it's always nice to have that second person," says Steen.

Supporting those who serve the community during emergencies.

The department has also applied for $8,000 in grants but hopes it will get most of its support at this Saturday's fundraiser.

Trained first responders in Osseo also help around the county and anywhere they travel, because once they're licensed they're required to offer aid if they come upon an accident or other medical emergency.

The event is Saturday, September 7th at 4 p.m. and it begins at Merchants ball field.

The cost is $35/person and $60/couple.

Are you training to be an EMT, let me know on Twitter @crusan_michael

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