“Providing urgent medical care and rescuing people from dangerous situations are the proudest traditions our families observe together on Father’s Day and every day of the year,” said CFARS Chief Frank Setnicky, whose three children followed him and his wife, Kim, into the volunteer squad. “It makes me proud that they are willing to put whatever they have going on aside to help other people,” he said of daughters Rebecca and Alexis and son Ryan. Rebecca is vice president of CFARS.
“What I noticed when I got here is that CFARS people include you immediately,” said volunteer EMT George Stiff, who in an unusual twist followed his son, Deputy Chief of Rescue Matt Stiff, into the squad.
The Setnicky story: Three volunteer generations and counting
Saying Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad is a Setnicky family tradition only hints at the story. Kim and Frank met at the squad. She volunteered in July 1984, as soon as she turned 16, following in the footsteps of her parents. He first volunteered in his home town, then joined Clinton in 1984, weeks after moving to town.
“On her way home from the hospital where she was born, we stopped with Becky at the squad and had her picture taken in front of the ambulance,” Kim remembers.
Rebecca and her siblings grew up helping around the squad where they could, with each joining the squad as soon as they turned 16.
“It’s in my blood,” Rebecca said. “I knew my grandparents did it, and my parents were in it, and now I’m in it. My boyfriend does it too – it’s kind of the family business.”
“It’s just the love of helping people,” Alexis said. “Both of my parents raised me to care about others.”
Kim switched from emergency response to a role helping to run the organization, supporting volunteers,
and community outreach when the kids were small. If they were together somewhere when Frank’s pager went off, the entire family reported to the scene and, from a safe distance, the children saw their father in action.
“After going out on a call with my dad when growing up as a kid, what could I look forward to more than volunteering with him?” Ryan said. He continues to be inspired by his dad. “My father has not cared
about anybody more than he cares about the person on scene at a call.”
Some dads wake their kids to go to school in the morning. At the Setnicky household, that wake-up call often came much earlier. “When the pager went off in the middle of the night, he went around the house screaming, ‘Get up! Let’s go!’ and banging on our doors,” remembers Rebecca, who moved to her own place last year.
The Stiff story: Like son, like father
Matt Stiff joined CFARS about a decade ago, when he was still in college and living with his parents. He was working part-time at a local state park and there was an emergency. “We were waiting for the ambulance, and all I could think was, ‘I’m here, but I can’t do anything because I don’t have any medical training,’” he remembered. Soon after, Stiff signed up with CFARS.
One night at dinner, his dad asked him just what he was doing with all the time he spent over there. “Why don’t you just come down and see what we do?” Matt suggested. And so George, who already served as a volunteer EMT in his job at a chemical company, did.
What does it mean to the two to volunteer together?
The Stiffs are jokesters: “It means we can tell lots of good stories together and drive my mother nuts!” said Matt. “Like the time Matt was hanging off the side of a building, and she was all, ‘Don’t tell me that!’” adds George.
They do have a serious answer: “It’s great when we’re on the same crew. It’s almost like you don’t have to verbally communicate, you can just figure out what the other guy is going to do,” George said.
“It makes things a lot easier more or less having the same brain,” Matt agrees.
The Next Generation
Alexander Stiff isn’t yet old enough to learn CPR. But his parents – Rebecca Setnicky and Matt Stiff – and grandparents confirm the 4-year- old can already identify every type of rescue vehicle by name.
The CFARS family seeks more volunteers
Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad’s call volumes have grown exponentially over the past several years, and more volunteers are needed to keep up with the demand and maintain quality service. Earlier this year, CFARS launched a proactive recruitment and awareness campaign, based on the theme: The Power to Save Others is In Your Hands. Share it.
Anyone with the desire to help others while gaining new skills, experiences and friendships should contact CFARS through the website www.joinclintonems.com or by calling 844-4-CLINTON (844-425-4626). Training is free once a volunteer commits to the squad, and there are even ways to help the squad that don’t require responding to calls.
Those who want to join can bring their dads, their moms, their kids, or just themselves.
“The Squad turned our family of five into a family of 50,” Kimberly Setnicky said.