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Gem of the Week: Final Call; EMT calls it a career after nearly 4 decades

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ)--A company man, a community man who you can literally call the town’s lifeline.

Tucked away in a cubicle, Wayne Mitterling is busy on his computer.

“I’m surprised, myself, 40 years,” said Mitterling.

He’s held various positions with Marvin Windows and Doors in Warroad.

“I never thought about relocating or working for anybody else,” said Mitterling.

He loves his job, but Wayne is never hesitant to get up and leave in a hurry, because this man loves his city.

In a small community, volunteering is what helps a community grow.

Wayne has helped thousands of people over the years as an EMT with Warroad Rescue--he joined in 1979 at the suggestion of a coworking at Marvin.

“People are reluctant to commit because it is a little bit of a commitment,” said Mitterling.

But after 38 years, including hundreds of hours of training and putting his life and his family on hold.

Because this man love his city.

“In a small community, volunteering is what helps a community grow.”

As an EMT with Warroad Rescue, Wayne has helped thousands of people over the years.

Mitterling joined in 1979 at the suggestion of a coworker at Marvin.

“If you had to go to work you got ready and went to work, even if you got a couple hours of sleep overnight.”

Wayne Mitterling is calling it a career--a new batch of volunteers, who have learned from the best, are on their way up the ranks.

“We got a few new members from that class and I felt I could call it the end and not leave the crew shorthanded.”

The manpower will be there, but Wayne’s dedication nearly impossible to replace.

“To have someone willing to leave that pager on even though I'm not on the schedule at that time and make myself available, thats huge,” said Joy Bukowiec of Warroad Rescue.

The 66 year old loss track of how many hours he volunteered or the thousands of times the pager went off.

“I've gotten called to probably anything you can think of, and they are stressful.”

But his most memorable call sticks out for a different reason.

“Even when we picked her up we knew we would probably not make it 20 miles to Roseau,” said Mitterling.

Halloween 2006,  just before 4 in the morning--the delivery of a baby boy along the side of the road in a snowstorm.

“I pulled over and it wasn't even a minute and the baby was born,” said Mitterling.

Wayne says each time he hears that siren - he will wonder what's going on and who needs help. But what he will miss most - just making the Warroad community a better place to live and work.  

“It’s not only being an emt on the squad, it's the community service, helping out, being at a football game with the ambulance, a hockey game.”

So with his EMT career over - his bosses at Marvin Windows must be wondering about his career there.

“Continue to work here for a little while yet.”