Lakes Area Rescue Sporting Brand-New Medical Equipment Thanks to Fundraising
Lakes Area Rescue has raised enough to fully equip its first responders with brand new medical equipment. The dedicated group of volunteers is committed to serving the residents of Crow Wing and Cass counties with essential emergency medical services, and the care they provide often serves as crucial lifeline until further transportation can be arranged.
Thanks to the organization’s fundraising and Sourcewell both matching the community’s funding and providing its own contributions, Lakes Area Rescue received some much-needed upgrades.
“We’ve added a squad response squad to our department. We did that through fundraising this spring,” said Josh Waagmeester, president of Lakes Area Rescue. “It took us about three months and then we were able to purchase a fully equipped used police car through one of the neighboring agencies, and then we were able to kind of retrofit that for our needs, so that we could put the needed medical equipment in there as well as some of the more expensive medical equipment that typically your first responders day-to-day cannot afford to carry.”
Lakes Area Rescue has been providing services for nearly 20 years and recently incorporated as a nonprofit. However, the organization has more than evolved over the years.
“So if we look back just probably like four years ago, we were sitting at approximately about six members on Lakes Area Rescue,” said Waagmeester. “We actually were not Lakes Area Rescue at that time, we were just a first responder entity within Crow Wing County, and we were running at that time probably about 180 or 200 calls a year.”
And with the population continuing to grow in central Minnesota, the equipment couldn’t have come at a better time for Lakes Area Rescue.
“That equipment is, it’s priceless, really. It does cost a lot of money. But then when you need it, it’s like, oh, my goodness,” said first responder Bruce Edberg. “We only have one LUCAS [chest compression device]. But it’s $30,000, and it doesn’t even drive. If you can get there first and start the procedure, it gives the patient every benefit of a doubt or every chance they can.”
The team is growing and currently looking for first responders. If you live in or near Brainerd, Baxter, or the East Gull Lake areas, you can learn more at Lakes Area Rescue’s website.