• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

A legacy of care for others

Linda Herring honored for 35-plus years of service as a Tiffin First Responder
Family support is crucial for a volunteer. Linda Herring (center) is surrounded by her family (from left) Lisa Herring, Levi Herring, Anthony Herring (holding Sullivan Herring), Vera Herring, Ava Herring, Lola Herring, Daylea Herring, Chris Kasper and Amber Herring (holding Apollo Herring) after receiving a plaque honoring her for 35-plus years of service to the Tiffin community as an emergency medical First Responder.

TIFFIN– In 1985 the Tiffin Fire Department went looking for volunteers for a brand new first responder unit.
Until fairly recently, the term “First Responder” meant “A person trained to provide initial care for patients suffering injury or sudden illness. The typical first responder can assess patients, provide basic life support and render the care that is necessary to prevent medical and injury-related problems from becoming a threat to survival,” according to “First Responder, Third Edition (Update)” by J. David Bergeron, Gloria Bizjak and David M. Wall.
One of the first to sign up was Linda Herring, who along with several other new volunteers, took the 40-hour first responder training course developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Lecture and hands-on practice were followed by practical skills testing and a written examination for certification. Once certified, the volunteers wore pagers, and when called, they reported to the fire station as quickly as possible so as to get the rescue truck on the way to the emergency.
“I only live a block away, so I used to run to the station,” said Herring, now retired from the Tiffin First Responders. She was honored for her 35-plus years of service to the Tiffin community with a plaque and small reception at the Tiffin Fire Station on Monday, Oct. 5.
“They went around asking for volunteers, and whenever somebody says ‘volunteers,’ I hop to it,” she said.
Herring said emergency first aid was something she always wanted to do.
“It’s neat to have all that training, even just for your own home,” she explained. “There’s a lot of training and a lot of stuff involved with it, and I hardly ever missed a call. I came whenever I could.”
Being a first responder kept Herring and the crew busy, from wrecks on Interstate 80 to a wide array of medical emergencies, and everything and anything in-between. But it wasn’t all critical situations and life-or-death decisions.
“We covered all the home football games and everything that we could cover for people,” she recalled. “If they had something big going on, we were there with the truck and offered our assistance.”
Although she’s retired from the Tiffin First Responders, the crew and the community are still very much on her mind.
“I miss it a lot. You don’t forget it, once you learn it, you don’t forget it. And, I never missed a call.” Herring said. “It’s important and it’s an important part of the fire department.”
Initial training, continuing education and training, and of course responding to emergency calls takes a lot of time away from families.
“It takes a lot of time and people have to give up a lot to do this,” she said. “You look at the firemen, they give up a lot to be here. A volunteer department… how much longer is that going to happen here?”
Time was never something Herring had an abundance of, having raised over 600 foster children.
“We’ve done that for years, raising foster kids,” she said.
At first, she wouldn’t take teenagers because “My Mom always said little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems. So, I always turned toward the little ones,” she explained. “But it always seemed like there was more of them. They’d call and say can you be at the University Hospital in 20 minutes to pick up a baby… I was up and on the road.”
Herring unknowingly found herself the subject of an answer on the TV game show “Jeopardy” recently, which said, “Linda Herring of this ‘Hawkeye State’ was honored for fostering more than 600 children over the course of nearly 50 years.” The question being, “What is Iowa?”
Fire Chief Brian Detert was just a kid hanging around the fire station with his dad when Herring and the First Responders first started.
“It was really neat to see how many of the people wanted to help out when it was only a town of 350 people, and they got seven or eight right off the bat,” Detert said. “It’s been great working with her since I got on the department in ’97, so I’ve had the opportunity to work with her for many years now, and with her deciding to retire last year, we thought we’d do something nice for her. She’s been around a long time and she’s done a lot for the community.”
Even if people haven’t been on the receiving end of her patient care, if they’ve ever had a bowl of chicken soup at a Tiffin Fire Department Soup Supper, they’ve experienced her love of the community.
“Linda’s Chicken Noodle, that’s her,” said Detert. “Instead of our chili supper just being chili, it became a soup supper, and she was a staple behind that. Nobody can make her chicken noodle; she’s the only one who makes it. She made 10 roasters every year, and she did it all on her own.”
“I’m a big believer in anything I can do to help, like making all that chicken noodle soup,” said Herring, who admitted only she has the recipe. “We’ve probably got a soup supper coming, so I’ll be here doing that.”
Herring is a big believer in volunteering and while Tiffin continues to grow, she recognizes the importance of volunteers.
“There’s a lot of volunteers here,” she said pointing to the firefighters standing outside the station. “I think every community should be like this, to dig in and help any way you can.”
When it comes to the fire department and the first responders, Herring said, “It’s very worthwhile and I hope the community stays with it, and keeps it going. It takes the ambulance 10, 20 minutes to get here, and somebody has to take care of these people.”