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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Community welcomes new fire/EMS chief

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  • ?Mark Sauerwein, Sedgwick’s new director of emergency services, didn’t take long to get down to work.?He started the job two days after he accepted it, and so far, he’s enjoyed working with the town’s volunteer fire/EMS department.?“It’s been fun,” he said. “I think it will be a good fit.”?Sauerwein began working as a firefighter/paramedic in 1987 in Newton, choosing to retire in January. In March, he began working for Harvey County 9-1-1.?He said it was interesting to answer emergency calls instead of respond to them, and at times, he felt frustrated because it was tough not to be able to jump up and help people in need.?However, he said he was grateful for the experience, and he thought working 9-1-1 will help him to become a better emergency responder.?“It really helped,” he said. “Everybody needs to go down and do that (answer 9-1-1 calls) that runs calls. ... It was a really an eye-opening thing.”?He saw an advertisement in the paper for the director of emergency services position in Sedgwick, and talked to Courtney Becker, Harvey County Communications director, about applying. Becker encouraged him to pursue the job, and Sauerwein eventually filled out an application. He now continues to work part-time for Harvey County 9-1-1.?Sedgwick’s Fire/EMS department is staffed by volunteers who receive nominal pay for making runs.?One of Sauerwein’s main goals as the new Sedgwick fire/EMS chief is to increase community involvement in the department and bring in more volunteers. He worked as a volunteer in the Walton department in the 1980s, and he said serving as a volunteer is an honorable commitment to community service. He wants to make sure volunteers have access to continued training, and serve as a mentor to younger fire/EMS volunteers.?He said the Sedgwick fire/EMS department will be a major part of the town’s fall festival this weekend.?He said fire/EMS services in Harvey County are a collaborative effort, with departments from towns like Sedgwick, Newton, Halstead, Hesston, Burrton and Whitewater often helping each other.?“Everybody in the county works together,” he said.
     

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