Winona County Dive Rescue Team fundraises for new ambulance

Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 5:47 PM CST
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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) – The Winona County Dive Rescue Team hosted a fundraiser Sunday morning to replace its ambulance.

For the group’s volunteers, the 20-year-old ambulance plays a significant role in running their operations. However, the machine is now past its prime.

“We used the ambulance for the dive rescue team to pull the boat to have our crews get ready in the water to prepare and everything,” Winona Dive Rescue fundraising committee member Caitlin Nicholson said. “So it really is instrumental for all of the work we’re doing for us to be able to show up at a scene and help people. ”

According to Dive Rescue member Nora Huxtable, the team serves not only Winona’s waterways but also its neighbors. From swimming in the heat of summer to ice diving, Huxtable said the response group is on call 24/7 with its ambulance being a crucial transportation.

The Dive Rescue members said the ambulance’s brake system no longer works well and has made loading boats on a slip more challenging.

“As we were backing it in, the person hit the brakes and thought that the ambulance was stopping and it just kept rolling. And obviously, that is incredibly dangerous. And so we are lucky to have the equipment that we have, but we need something that can handle the situation safely and that can be dependable enough for a team that is on call like we are.”

Winona County Dive Rescue Team Member Nora Huxtable

The response team aims to raise $500,000 in funds to replace the vehicle. It plans to have another fundraising event on spring of 2024.

If you are interested in donating or joining the group, you can reach out to the Dive Rescue Team by visiting the Winona County Sheriff’s Office or calling 507-457-6368.