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Hartford says ‘thanks’ to Fire Department Lt. Libby Ohlson | By Samantha Sali

  • March 31, 2018 – Hartford, WI – Hartford Fire and Rescue Department had a “Best Wishes Send-Off” for its very own, Lt. Libby Ohlson.
    Ohlson, 27, served the community of Hartford for 11 years, first as a ride-along intern and eventually recognized as EMT of the Year by the Hartford Fire and Rescue Department and the Wisconsin American Legion Second District.
    Many in Hartford who see Ohlson as a valued member of the community are curious to know what’s next for her and contrary to popular belief, she is not joining another Fire and Rescue Department.
    Ohlson currently has an Associates degree as a Paramedic Technician, but has been attending school full time at UW-Milwaukee for Psychology and Criminal Justice. “I have been working an average of 60 hours between jobs, plus school full time. I couldn’t keep it up anymore. It was challenging giving 100 percent to my education and the fire department,” she said.
    “I love taking care of people,” Ohlson said, “But I feel my purpose is not in the medical field.”
    After she receives her Bachelors degree Ohlson plans to obtain a Masters in Psychology and hopes to start a career in Milwaukee either in law enforcement or social services.
    “I worked as paramedic in Milwaukee for Bell Ambulance for seven years,” said Ohlson.  “I miss serving the people in the city. I’ve always wanted to come back, just in a different capacity.”
    When asked what she will miss the most about Hartford, Ohlson said she will dearly miss Fire Chief Paul Stephans. “He has been an instrumental person in my life. He has inspired me to follow my passion in life, has shown me the values of servant leadership through his example, and is one of the most humble and compassionate people I know. I can only attribute where I am today from the standards and example he has consistently set for me over the years. I could write pages about him! He definitely does not get enough credit for what he does, He is definitely the foundation to the department.”
    While Ohlson had much to say about her experiences in Hartford, fellow community members stepped up to share what they loved about her.
    Brook Weiss, a fellow colleague said, “So proud of this girl! [It] was fun watching her grow in the EMS field. She is an amazing person with a big heart and a lot of passion. Always goes above and beyond reaching out to those in need…volunteering for educational events n fundraisers very compassionate and empathetic to everyone’s situation and needs just an all around sweet girl who cares for everyone!”
    Wendy and Jason, owners of Faith & Giggles in Hartford, said Olhson has made an impact on them and the community.
    “Libby is a special soul. Her heart is dedicated to serving others and she does so in many ways. She’s a passionate advocate at heart, standing up for and wanting to protect those who are most vulnerable in our society. Along with her kind heart and humble nature, we feel these values are the most admirable of all. We are in awe of all she takes on, especially at her young age; this world is a better place because Libby is in it and we are so grateful to have her as our friend. Watch for Libby to do more fantastic things in her bright future!”
    Ohlson wanted to share a lot with the community and her colleagues before she left, so she’d like everyone to know, “Leaving the department is one of the most difficult things I have done in my personal life and professional career. I have seen people come and go over the years and every one of them have struggled with the decision to leave. This department helps you become a better version of yourself. When you feel yourself becoming tired, you look around you and see the dedication and commitment that your co-workers continuously put forth. It re-energizes you. This has always been more than just a job to everyone there. I think many consider it a calling, and others want to give back to the community that they were raised in as children and still call home to their families. They display pride in the department and represent it both in and out of uniform. They respond to calls for their neighbors and friends and I believe that it always helps knowing your loved one is being cared for by someone you know and trust. We see a different part of humanity in this field of work, people in their most vulnerable moments when they need help the most. It creates a bond among us that is hard to explain. When there is a tough call the department sticks together, mourns together, and is always there for each other. That can be hard to do when tragedy has a way of tearing each other apart.
    “Serving others in the capacity that EMS and Fire requires takes continued dedication, sacrifice, and compassion. That’s what makes Hartford Fire & Rescue so unique; the members have never lost those core values. Their standard of care never changes regardless of how busy their shift, how tired they are, or how many years they have been serving on the department. This department will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always challenge myself to be a better person because of the people that I had the opportunity to serve with for 11 years. If you are ever interested in becoming an EMT, you should definitely join Hartford Fire Department. It changes you!”
    Thank you, Libby Ohlson, for your dedication to Hartford & its residents. We wish you the best of luck on all of your dreams and future endeavors.

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