By Julie Ann Madden
Akron councilors hired their own Emergency Medical Services director, and she will be take over the Akron Ambulance Service management July 1.
At their May 13 meeting, councilors unanimously approved hiring Shelly Stockstad-Erickson of Yankton, S.D., at a salary of $35,000 annually. The hiring contract includes a six-month probationary period in which the Hiring Committee will monitor her progress.
Stockstad-Erickson isn’t new to the Akron Ambulance Service as she was employed by the current service owner, Siouxland Paramedics Inc., and was stationed in Akron throughout 2013.
The Hiring Committee consisted of Akron Mayor Harold Higman Jr., Councilors Bob Frerichs and Sharon Frerichs, City Administrator Gary Horton and Akron Ambulance Service Medical Director Dr. Cindie Wolff.
Making the motion to hire Stockstad-Erickson, Councilor Bob Frerichs explained they had four applicants for the position but two of them hadn’t met the paramedic licensing requirement. Therefore, only the remaining two applicants were interviewed.
Councilor Sharon Frerichs seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous with all five councilors present.
Stockstad-Erickson, a Minneapolis, Minn., native, graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1982.
She studied equestrian science and social work at William Woods College at Fulton, Mo., before working the social work field with battered women and the mentally challenged.
Next, Stockstad-Erickson moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., to care for an ailing grandfather and owned and operated her own interior design firm.
“I knew I wanted to get into medicine somehow,” said Stockstad-Erickson, explaining her husband’s best friend said to try Emergency Medical Technician training. “I did and I fell in love.”
She completed the one-month EMT crash course and immediately started the paramedic course at Avera School of Paramedicine in Sioux Falls, S.D. She earned her paramedics license in 2008.
She was hired by Siouxland Paramedics Inc. of Sioux City and worked as one of their paramedics for the past five years. In 2013, she was assigned to the Akron Ambulance Service to prepare the squad to achieve the Advanced Life Support provisional certification.
On Nov. 25, 2013, the Akron Ambulance Service received that designation, which is a higher level of emergency care provided by the ambulance personnel.
Since the City of Akron will once again own the Akron Ambulance Service, they will need to go through the Advanced Life Support certification process again. Stockstad-Erickson said she does not see that as a problem.
Stockstad-Ericson and her husband, Marquis Erickson, reside in Yankton, S.D., where he is an architect.
She has one step-son, Graham and his wife, Stephanie Erickson of Gillett Wyo., and two step-grandsons, Evan and Owen.
When not providing emergency medical care, Stockstad-Erickson enjoys gardening, especially growing produce for her vegetarian diet, plus growing flowers, fishing and spending time at their lake cabin in northern Minnesota.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm in the Akron Ambulance,” said Stockstad-Erickson, adding the service was well maintained. “I thank Siouxland Paramedics Inc. for that.”
“Rural services are a dying breed,” she said, “and we’re going to turn that around. They struggle financially.”
“I’m a huge advocate of ‘paying things forward,’” she said. “There will be benefits to the community — quicker advanced life support care, a closer working relationship with the Akron Mercy Medical Clinic, Floyd Valley Hospital and Hawarden Regional Heatlhcare as well as still maintain advanced care services with the Sioux City hospitals.”