Gloria Nachreiner, a teacher at Sleepy Eye Public High School, also volunteers her time as a member of the local ambulance crew.

Gloria Nachreiner, a teacher at Sleepy Eye Public High School, also volunteers her time as a member of the local ambulance crew.

Gloria grew up in Colombia, but her mother decided to bring her children to America so they could have a good education and future. After finishing high school in 1971, she enlisted in the Navy, because of the college assistance programs offered. While in the Navy she met her (late) husband, Jim Nachreiner.

Jim and Gloria married, and after their time in service ended in July of 1977, Gloria used the military GI Bill to go to college at MSU, Mankato and St. Mary’s University to become an educator. Her mother had stressed upon her the importance of an education, telling her, “No one can take your education away from you. Once you have it, it’s yours.”

Gloria’s mother also taught her the value of community and participating in making the place you live better. Looking for a place to volunteer her time, Gloria began working with a women’s shelter program for victims of domestic abuse, as a translator. On top of that, local law enforcement and ambulance crews would call on her to translate for them from time to time.

“You live in a town, you need to make your town better,” were the words Gloria’s mother said to her that guided her decision to ultimately join the Sleepy Eye Ambulance Service.

Like many medical professionals, constant training is a big part of an Emergency Medical Technician’s (EMT) life. The Sleepy Eye crew trains once a month and has recertifications outside of that. “Shari [Hittesdorf, Ambulance Coordinator] is very good at making sure we know where things are in the ambulance,” said Gloria. “You need to know where things are so when you’re in trouble, and the adrenaline is high, you know what you need to do and where to find what you need.”

Gloria believes it takes a great deal of dedication to be on the ambulance crew. “Your family has to understand when you have somewhere to go, and you may be gone a long time,” she said. “Aside from the hours you work, you will spend time training, cleaning up after you have transported a patient, and filling out the necessary paperwork for the hospitals.”

“You need to be able to understand people’s pain,” said Gloria. “They are scared, they don’t know what’s going to happen, and you have to be able to, in a lot of cases, talk to this person and get them to talk to you.” Not only does the ambulance crew have to communicate with the patient and fellow teammates, they also have to have a working relationship with the police force and the local fire fighters.

Gloria said that after an ambulance run is completed, the crew sometimes needs to vent or deal emotionally with what has happened. “Shari does a great job of having a briefing afterwards,” Gloria said. “If you need to cry, you can cry, if you need to let out frustrations, you can do that.

“We are a team,” remarked Gloria. “I am not responsible for a life by myself. And, I know my team has my back and together we do what we can for each individual.”

On top of teaching and working as an EMT, Nachreiner is also pursuing her Doctorate in Education. She also found time in her busy life to raise her and Jim’s four children—Eric, Kelly, Jeremy and Michael. Gloria Nachreiner is a great example of someone with many passions who uses them to make the place she lives a better place, and to serve others, which may be the most important trait of all—a desire to be of service to one’s community.