Family of former EMS leader creates foundation in his memory - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Family of former EMS leader creates foundation in his memory

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -


For many EMT and EMS Volunteers in southeast Minnesota, Jim Cooper was a very important man. That's why unveiling his foundation at the Southeastern Minnesota EMS Conference in Spring Valley on Saturday was appropriate.

Small-town EMS groups might not be able to get the funding they need, which was why Cooper's family was there to help. 

"A lot of the southeast Minnesota volunteer ambulance services are not in existence as much as they used to be," Judy Cooper, Jim's Widow, said. "We want to keep our small town ambulances going as much as we can."

Cooper started his career in Caledonia in 1974, where those that worked with him still remember him fondly. "He was a good mentor and, he was a great educator" Mike Tornstrom, Caledonia's Ambulance Director, said. "He did a lot of positive things for the city of Caledonia."

It makes it all the more fitting for Caledonia to receive the foundation's first donation of $2,500.

"I'm glad they recognized where he started and where it all started," Tornstrom said. "I think Jim got the EMS bug in Caledonia."

For Jim, the importance of first responders, especially in the many small towns in southeast Minnesota, could not be understated.

If he was looking down on his family from above, it's probably with a grin. "Oh, he's smiling because there were so many days that he had to take ambulance calls because there weren't enough people signed up," Cooper's widow said.

They hope through the foundation's work, others in the future won't have to make the same sacrifices Cooper did when he was alive.

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