Cindy Sheeley receiving plaque for her 30 years of service for the Wabasha Ambulance Service.

Cindy Sheeley answered a call to serve her community over 30 years ago. The community asked her to consider joining the local ambulance service in her small hometown of Elgin. They were at risk of not having emergency services without more volunteers. So, she stepped up and enrolled in her first EMT class in 1993. Life circumstances relocated her to Wabasha that same year and on January 1, 1994, she joined the Wabasha Ambulance Service.

Now, more than 30 years later, she’s responded to thousands of calls, completed countless hours of training, and delivered hundreds of CPR courses and EMS training. Cindy is still answering that call to serve. But now it’s not only a feeling, it’s a vocation. The people she has served alongside all these years have become a second family. She now possesses a Doctorate in Nursing and is a Nurse Educator for Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Clinics. In the past, she’s served as the Wabasha Ambulance Service’s interim director, training coordinator, and Secretary/Treasurer.  She is still a CPR Instructor, DOT instructor, and the Ambulance Association president.

“I truly enjoy being able to help people out when they need it. I still get an adrenaline rush when the pager goes off, you never know what you will see or do,” says Cindy. Beyond that, she also knows these skills are needed to serve her neighbors.

EMS has changed a lot in 30 years. “Equipment has progressed to the point of an ambulance being a mini-emergency department. We can do various treatments for patients that we wouldn’t have thought of 30 years ago,” says Cindy.

Policies have tripled and so has the training, due to the procedures and equipment that EMTs carry. While this requires more out of volunteers who join the service, it also means more standardization of care.

Over the years, Cindy has gathered countless memories, both happy and sad.

“We have brought life into the world and been with others when they left our world,” says Cindy.

These profound moments mean that a strong bond forms, not only among the ambulance crew members, but with the Wabasha Fire Department, Kellogg First Responders and Fire Department, Wabasha Police Department, and Sheriff Department. These organizations also play key roles on calls- from being the first on scene and prepping the crew for what to expect to provide extra assistance when additional hands are needed.

For the Wabasha Ambulance Service, Cindy has been an incredible leader and colleague. Ryan Marking is the director of the Wabasha Ambulance Service.

“Cindy was my preceptor when I was just starting out as a paramedic. She is a great mentor with a lot of passion. It showed back then, and it shows today. Cindy’s commitment and dedication to go above and beyond in all aspects of EMS to help those in need is truly astonishing. She has touched the lives of so many people both patients and crew,” said Ryan.

The call to serve in EMS has only grown since Cindy started all those years ago. Cindy would encourage others to answer the call as she has.

“Go for it,” she says, “It’s challenging physically and mentally but also very rewarding and a good way to give back to your community. It requires time for the class, training, and taking the required call, but it’s worth it. The bonds that are developed with other individuals whether in emergency services or those whom you meet in their moment of need are bonds that I have cherished throughout the years.”

To join the Wabasha Ambulance Service, contact Ryan Marking at

EMTs Cindy Sheeley and Bryton Miller, receiving an award for their work helping delivery a baby during a call.

EMTs Cindy Sheeley, Stacy Arens, and Tina Cook working at Wabasha Ambulance Association Fundraiser