Mary Powell, with her megawatt smile and exemplary take-charge kind of attitude, has dedicated almost half her life to providing quality emergency care to the citizens of Hortonville and the surrounding Townships of Liberty and Wautonia.
A familiar face to many in time of need, Mary has been with Hortonville EMS as a first responder since their inception in 1980. With profound admiration and deep thanks for her years of dedication, her friends and family gathered at the River Rail in Shiocton on Dec. 8 to honor her amazing career as she retired from the first responder group this year.
Mary’s initial interest in being a first responder grew from living on a working farm and having small children. She wanted “to be prepared in the event that anyone was hurt.” Her coworkers at Mike Murphy Ford also attended the classes and “after a lot of training and growing pains, we were able to provide a high level of service to our community.” She has a lot of pride “being in on the ground floor” and in providing such a valuable service to friends and neighboring citizens. She has mutual respect for her lifelong EMS comrades and all the experiences they have shared. “We are a very cohesive family.”
She vividly reflects back on an ambulance call 18 years ago when she responded to a patient ill at the Savings and Loan in Hortonville. Much to her misfortune, she arrived only to have to perform CPR on her own husband. Knowing personally how it feels to be left behind, Mary used this perspective that she gained the hard way to help others who were left behind. Mary said while everyone focuses initially on the patient, she found great reward in staying back, “providing emotional care” for families and friends by doing whatever she could. “I actually know how they feel. I’ve been there, done that. There is more than one life at stake here.” It’s obvious she speaks from her heart.
On a much lighter note, she laughed and told me she’s off to “Wrinkle City,” Texas, where she will relax for the winter this year. Every ending brings with it a new beginning. Mary looks forward now to a long healthy life spending time with her eight children, 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, along with gardening canning and reading.
Come summer, she will return to Hortonville to her cohesive EMS family. She might sit in on a meeting or two but she “won’t be wearing a radio, answering pages or climbing any stairs with the med pack this time.” Rest assured she intends to continue to always be there with her megawatt smile, ready to administer her trademark “emotional” care as needed in her beloved community of Hortonville just like she has always done.