Longtime EMT retires

For years a Wapakoneta woman served her community through her medical knowledge, sometimes working and being on call for 24 hours straight.

Ruth Baeumel, who began working as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in Wapakoneta 33 years ago, went on her last call this weekend. She decided it was time to retire.

For 47 years, Baeumel served as a local nurse. She would put in her 12-hour shift at the hospital and then immediately go onto call as she was driving home to be prepared at a moment’s notice to help handle emergency calls for the squad. Once she left the hospital five years ago, she started working on call 24 hours a day with Wapakoneta’s EMT auxiliary.

Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites said he admires the work the auxiliary members do and the years those like Baeumel have put into being on call for the job.

“They’ve given a lot of their time to the community,” Krites said, noting they are always looking for more members to serve on the auxiliary.

“I started the year after the squad was put into service,” Baeumel said of her EMT work in Wapakoneta.

The 69-year-old said she heard about the opportunity from co-workers, who said they needed more people to go on emergency calls, and that she would love it once she started. She did.

“I have enjoyed helping others and getting them to the hospital and they take over,” Baeumel said. “It’s a good feeling.

“I will miss it, but it’s time for a change,” she said.

Baeumel said she just decided before she turned 70 that she was ready to get out and try something else as she plans to work with cancer patients, taking them to appointments, sitting with them through treatments, and helping them when they get home.

“I still want to work part time at least,” Baeumel said. “I’m not old enough to stop working.”

She said she has been helping cancer patients as time has allowed on and off for years and is thankful of their appreciation for anything that is done for them. Baeumel also has offered help to shut-ins, who can’t get out.

“I’ve never done anything besides taking care of people,” said Baeumel, who in the third-grade made a folder about wanting to be a nurse. “I still have it and that feeling hasn’t changed. When I was a kid I started taking care of animals and then I moved on to taking care of people.”