AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

Profile: Brian Wielenga and David Dykstra (AFSCME Local 1741)

BACKGROUND:

Brian Wielenga and David Dykstra are Police Officers with the Sheldon Police Department. Both of them have worked as Sheldon police officers since 1988.

Brian served his country in the US Army as an Airborne Ranger from 1980 -1984.

David served his country is the US Marine Corps from 1981-1984.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITY: SHELDON COMMUNITY AMBULANCE TEAM

Prior to joining the ambulance team, Brian Wielenga and David Dykstra frequently worked with the ambulance team as part of their jobs. Both were impressed by the ambulance team’s dedication and quick response times.

In 2003, the ambulance team was facing a shortage of EMTs. Brian offered to serve as a first responder/driver. Brian became the first non-EMT on the team. After Brian’s role proved to be helpful to the team, Brian recruited additional first responders/drivers, including his AFSCME brother and fellow police officer, David Dykstra.

Being a first responder/driver takes a high level of commitment in terms of time. Each of them typically signs up for thirty hours a week of on call time. If a call comes in, they are expected to arrive at the ambulance in four minutes and then drive to any emergency call in town within two minutes. They also answer emergency calls in the countryside and assist other cities’ ambulance teams when their ambulance cannot take a call due to already being out on a call.

WHY THEY VOLUNTEER—IN THEIR OWN WORDS:

“During an emergency, people are scared. I can be a reassuring and comforting face while the EMT does their work. I know that my volunteer work helps save lives.” - Brian Wielenga

“I volunteer as a first responder/driver because I know how important seconds can be in an emergency. I am proud of how people in Sheldon can count on our ambulance team to be there in a time of need.” - David Dykstra

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