Jon Hagen presented “AFD Rescue Squad” on May 8, 2024 for the Appleton Historical Society.

At the age of 18, Jon Hagen was hired by Gold Cross Ambulance. Soon he began paramedic training and went on to work 14 years at Gold Cross. He was there when the Appleton Fire Department paramedic ambulance rescue squad was taken out of service by Mayor George Johnson and the Appleton City Council. A citizens group — Save Your Fire Departments Paramedics — was formed and did their best to have the paramedics service reinstated. The fate of AFD squad 91 was ultimately decided in a referendum on April 1, 1986. Jon became a registered nurse and worked in the intensive care unit at Appleton Memorial Hospital. He was then hired as a flight nurse at Theda Star and later by Flight for Life. He was a flight nurse for more than 22 years. In 2002, he was awarded a Nightingale Award for excellence in nursing practice from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. In 2017, he was recognized as a Star of Life by the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin.

Jon’s writings have been published in Air Medical Journal and a Legacy of Caring, a book commemorating the first few decades of flight nursing. He also served more than 10 years as the coroner for Outagamie County. In October 2021, his first book, Coroner Calls, was published. He continues to document the history of Emergency Medical Services in the area and hopes to have it available online soon.

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