Sadie Wallerich is a third generation first responder volunteer in Wabasha. She grew up in Wabasha, watching her dad go out on calls as a volunteer fire fighter with the Wabasha Fire Department and her mom Linda Wallerich, as a volunteer EMT in Alma, Wisconsin. Her dad has been on the fire department for 31 years and three years as a first responder for the Wabasha Ambulance Service. Before, her grandfather was a pump operator for the Wabasha Fire Department for 20 years.
“ I remember growing up in a giant family of 28 dads on the Wabasha Fire Department,” she recalls, “ Every event I could be part of I was- filling swimming pools, control burns, Easter egg hunts, chicken fundraisers, mock drills. At that time, I wanted to be a pump operator just like my grandpa.”
There was also a more serious memory that stands out- when Sadie watched September 11th happen in her fourth grade classroom. It was an event that hit really close to home. So the next day, she was on the street corner with a firemen’s boot, helping to raise money for the New York Fire Department.
Fast forward in time and when Sadie was 18 and in college, she answered an invitation to take an EMT class.
“ It’s a deep sense of calling that I have had my entire life, at times it can be tough, but there is no greater reward,” she said.
For eleven years, Sadie has enjoyed being able to not only serve the community but also develop a closer bond with her dad, Jeff Wallerich.
Jeff recollects Sadie’s first year on the service. “I was on a call for a car accident, I was with the fire department already on scene when the ambulance got there. Sadie saw me and waved and had the biggest smile on her face. ‘I got to drive the ambulance Dad!’”
“I love taking the calls with my dad. It’s really special to work alongside each other” said Sadie, and adding with a laugh, “I also get to boss him around”.
Sadie also describes the care and sense of community she has always felt. She recalls one time, when she was riding to a car accident scene, with the fire fighters.
She heard over the radio, “That’s Jeff’s daughter, don’t let anything happen to her.” It warmed her heart and instilled a sense of pride.
In gratitude for all Fathers, Happy Father’s Day.