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Upsala Gives Back

As part of the Centra Sota 100 Year Community Initiative, the Upsala Country Store chose to donate to two worthy causes - the Upsala Area Schools (UAS) playground and the Upsala Fire & Rescue.

The UAS playground project was started by first-grade teacher Desiree Bengtson in order to provide a safer, more accessible playground for all kids at the Upsala Elementary School. The Upsala Lions Club awarded the playground committee $75,000 to help kick-start the project. Coincidentally, the Upsala Area Schools are also celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year! The playground was installed at the end of July and has been a fantastic addition to the school and the community.

Upper left: Recent picture of the Upsala EMS Team | Upper right: water rescue training event | Lower center: Mock car crash the team shares each year around prom & graduation time to help increase awareness and safety

Andrea Douvier, Upsala Country Store Manager, is also a member of the Upsala Rescue Team, both of which are staffed by volunteers. She joined the team five years ago and now serves as their President. Her husband, Jimmy, is also on the team. Andrea shares that the number of calls can vary – some weeks have many and others have few. Volunteers are required to complete 40 hours of basic first aid / CPR training, 10 hours per year of continuing education, and a refresher course every 2 years. The team covers the cities of Upsala and Elmdale, as well as Elmdale township and part of Krain township – around 100 square miles in total. When a call for help is made – often in the middle of the night – the team members receive an alert and respond as quickly as possible. Sometimes a call can be as simple as assisting someone who’s fallen and is unable to get up. Other times they respond to car crashes, cardiac incidents, strokes, and more. Because the Upsala area is rural, it takes about 30-45 min for an ambulance to arrive when roads are good. On snowy roads, it can be an hour or more. The team assists people until an ambulance can arrive to offer additional support.

Being a member of a volunteer EMS team in a small town is a unique experience. Andrea explains “We know around 85% of the people we go to help.” While this can be challenging, it also means that they often get updates on how people are doing after they’ve helped and can be of comfort and help to family that might need additional support. As anyone might suspect, some of the calls can take an emotional toll on the volunteers. The Fire Department and EMS teams take time to meet, share their experiences, listen to each other, and provide support to one another. These teams of volunteers give their time and talent to help others in the community, and we’re proud to offer support to enable them to continue to impact and save lives.

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