Rose Pelzel has served as an EMT and Paramedic for Devine Redeemer and HealthEast Ambulance service for nearly 47 years, making her one of the longest serving street medics in the United States. Rose began her EMS career in 1972 by taking the Advanced First Aid class in South St. Paul, Minnesota. Rose was the only woman in the class and immediately faced challenges. Driven to help people, she was inspired by the Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Rose pressed forward. In 1974, Rose completed Paramedic school and helped form the first MICU team in the Upper Midwest.
Rose is a trusted colleague and a skilled professional. Her colleague wrote, “Early in my own Paramedic career, Rose was my mentor, exhibiting great passion for helping others, patients and coworkers, in need of her care.” She always exemplifies the good stewardship needed to carry on the HealthEast mission, “Optimal health and wellbeing for our patients, communities and ourselves.”
In the late 1980s, Rose joined one of the first Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) teams in the Upper Midwest. She was then able to bring her deep passion to care for people to other first responders that needed care of their own. Despite facing her own EMS burn-out at least three times in her career, Rose was able to find energy, drive, and inspiration to continue to “love” her career. Today, Rose has a calming and grounding effect on her team. Her sincere empathy and mission to find good in all people and situations, drives her to help people find and realize their potential.
Rose has served with great distinction in many roles; Crew Supervisor, Critical Care Paramedic, Field Training Officer, Preceptor, mentor, and friend. Rose has accumulated immeasurable experience that she shares with her colleagues as fuel for their growth and development. One of the most valuable pieces of advice she offers is to stay emotionally and mentally present when providing mobile healthcare. “Be with your patient. Treating your patient is not being with them. Find a way to connect and be with them,” she says. The energy and inspiration that Rose channels from these personal connections are what keep her fully engaged with her career.
Although she has already served 47 years as a full-time field provider in a high volume metropolitan area, Rose has no plan to retire. “If my EMS career did come to an end suddenly, I don’t have a need to do anything else,” she says with a huge smile, referring to a recent 911 request in Eagan, Minnesota. Rose and her partner, along with two Good Samaritans and a fire crew came to the aid of a drowning boy. Heroic efforts resuscitated the young boy. Joyous as it was to treat, save, and later meet their patient, Rose found the most meaning in her interaction with the child’s family. “The look on the father’s face when he shook my hand meant so much to me. It showed sincere appreciation and more importantly, deep connection,” she said.
Rose Pelzel has served her patients, colleagues, and community with outstanding care, respect and understanding for nearly five decades. She has truly earned her place as a 2019 Star of Life.