Nelson Schaefer


Nelson Schaefer
Hennepin County Medical Center EMS
Minneapolis, MN

Nelson Schaefer started at Hennepin County Ambulance in 1967 at the age of 45. He showed up on his first day, was introduced to his partner, and got into the ambulance. On-the-job training was the rule of the day. He wasn't sure how well he would do, as most of his background was in sales. But he did well enough that he was chosen to be in Hennepin County's first paramedic training class. He was quite proud of graduating from the program and had a better handle on the job.

As much as he liked his work, he loved his time off. In the summer, it would be golfing or fishing. In winter there was football and basketball. He was probably most comfortable standing next to the Weber BBQ, beer in hand, watching the chicken or steaks get beautifully charred edges. Not sure which he enjoyed more, the barbecuing or the eating.

Nelson's pleasures were pretty basic. Good food, good drink, good family and friends equaled good times. He loved a good story and told a good story, usually at his own expense. Life in the ambulance service was great fodder for many a story. It also allowed him to enter the lives of the lowliest low to the high and mighty. He truly came to understand that no matter what, we are all too human, good and bad.

He pretty much got to live the last years of his life doing exactly what he wanted to do. Not many people could make that claim. On January 14, 1985 Nelson suffered a serious heart attack while on duty and died later that evening.

Honored 2011