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Volunteer Individual of the Year
Featured on KCRG-TV9

CEDAR RAPIDS — Ambulance services in rural areas are often underfunded, and require the help of volunteers like Wendy Frentress, a paramedic currently working with Blairstown Ambulance. She’s been recognized by the Iowa Emergency Medical Services Association with the Volunteer Individual of the Year award. That’s why she’s the focus of this week’s Show You Care Spotlight.

The loss of a family member inspired Frentress to become a paramedic back in 2001.

“my father had actually passed away in a Hardee’s, and a person there did CPR, and I wanted to give back what they gave to him,” said Frentress.

Since then, she’s been on calls for ambulances services in Urbana, North Benton, Iowa County, and Belle Plaine. It’s an unpredictable job that keeps her on her toes.

“Getting up out of bed in the middle of the night, not knowing what you’re actually going to run into,” Frentress said, smiling.

Dr. Brian Meeker at Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton said people like Wendy make it possible for medical centers like theirs to save lives.

“When you dial 911, you expect people to come, but if it wasn’t for the volunteer aspect of it, that couldn’t happen,” Meeker said. “It’s a calling; it’s not for everybody, and we very much appreciate anybody who’s willing to volunteer.”

But for Wendy, working with her fellow EMT’s and patients makes it all worthwhile.

“We have our good times, our good calls, we have our bad calls, some are just funny. The people are just a joy to work with,” Frentress told us, recalling her encounter with one patient — a man with heart arrhythmia — after she helped stabilize him.

“He looked at me and I said, ‘do you feel better?’ I said, ‘I could just hug you, your rhythm changed.’ And he said, ‘well go ahead then, go ahead and hug me,’ so I did.”

Wendy said moments like that make her want to keep going, “as long as I’m able to.”

Wendy will attend the Stars of Life Conference in Washington D.C. in April, as a result of receiving the Volunteer Individual of the Year award.
IEMSA Headlines
WE WILL HONOR OUR EMS HEROES IN 2024. The 2024 EMS Memorial Ceremony will be held May 18, 2024. The ceremony will be held at the location of the EMS Memorial at WDM station #19. 2024 EMS Memorial Applications for the 2024 EMS Memorial Ceremony should be submitted by mail. Please print, complete and mail this PDF. The deadline for the 2024 EMS Memorial is April 15, 2024. Get details here.

Join us for the IEMSA Honoring Our Own Ceremony at CCCU/Veterans Memorial in Des Moines, in conjunction with the 33nd Annual IEMSA Annual Conference and Trade Show at 7:45 AM on Saturday, November 11, 2023 in the Level 3 Ballroom. If you know of any EMS, Fire, Dispatch, EMS Instructor, or Friend of EMS who made significant contributions to our EMS profession that are no longer with us and should be honored in this ceremony, please contact us by email here.

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IEMSA board meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month unless otherwise noted. Regular meetings will be held by teleconference or at West Des Moines EMS Station 19, 8055 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm unless otherwise noted.

2023 EVENT & Board
Meeting Dates

Public Safety Boot Camp
April 26 & 27, 2023
8:00 AM-5:00 PM
WDM Hilton Garden Inn

Board Meeting (May)
No Meeting

EMS Memorial (EMS Week)
May 20, 2023
10:00-11:30 AM
WDM Station #19, EMS Memorial

Board Meeting (June)
June 15, 2023
Zoom Meeting

Board Meeting (July)
July 20, 2023

Billing/CADS Conference in DSM
August 15 & 16, 2023
All-day Tuesday & Wednesday
WDM Hilton Garden Inn

Board Meeting (August)
No Meeting

Board Meeting (September)
September 21, 2023

Board Meeting (October)
October 19, 2023
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November 9-11, 2023
Iowa Event Center DSM

Board Meeting (December)
December 21, 2023

2024 Annual Member Meeting
February 15, 2024
4:00-5:00 p.m.
By Zoom

2024 SE EMS Saturday
TBD (February 2024)

2024 EMS Memorial Ceremony
Saturday, May 18, 2024
EMS Memorial / WDM Station #19
Application for engraving your hero on the memorial

2024 20th Annual IEMSA Billing & Documentation Conference
Tuesday & Wednesday,
August 13 & 14, 2024
WDM Hilton Garden Inn, West Des Moines

2024 34th Annual IEMSA Conference & Trade Show
November 8-10, 2024
Iowa Event Center

2025 Public Safety Boot Camp
with Jon Politis
September 24 & 25, 2025
Tuition: $250 (Includes: Lunch Both Days, Textbook and Resources Thumb Drive)
WDM Hilton Garden Inn, West Des Moines

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