Sisters in service at Swiss Valley

By Jacob Mahaffey
The Budget

When the tones drop for a medical emergency, dedicated men and women answer the call. For some Emergency Medical Technicians, it’s a deep strong desire to serve and for others it’s a calling. For the Schlabach sisters, daughters of Jason and Ruth, of Baltic it’s a little of both. Miriam, 25, and Karen, 24, became EMTs a year and a half ago.

Miriam’s journey to EMT started when God called her. “In January 2016, an ambulance came past our place on State Route 93,” she explained. “God came in a still small voice and said ‘You should go and become an EMT.’” Miriam immediately dismissed the idea. There was no way that an Amish person could become an EMT. However, her father attended a meeting of the Swiss Valley Joint Ambulance District in February that year. “When he came home, he said ‘They are looking for some Amish to be EMTs’,” she said.

To that point, Miriam hadn’t shared what God had said to her. In March though, that all changed. Through conversation with her family, it finally came out that she really wanted to be an EMT. The last hurdle was her Dad’s approval. It ended up not being a hurdle at all though. “I don’t care, if that is what God is calling you to do,” Jason told her.

For Karen, she always knew she wanted to be in the medical field. “I have always wanted to do medical,” she said. “So, doing EMS was a good start.” When she heard that Miriam was going to EMT school she knew that was her opportunity and jumped on board.

In September 2016 EMT class began for the sisters, along with several other local first responders, at the Baltic Fire Station. It was a class that wrapped up the following February. After both sisters passed the class, with impressively high scores, it was on to taking the National Registry, a standardized test that potential EMT’s of all levels must take in order to obtain certification. Both Karen and Miriam passed on their first try. “I was so nervous after my computer shut off at 70 questions,” Miriam recalled. “I didn’t have any too hard questions, so I thought I never passed my exam.”

For Karen and Miriam, this is more than just a job. “Being there for people, when they are hurting and obviously, being passionate about it,” Karen stated is key.

“Our parents are always caring for people through the store,” Miriam said. And now, together, the girls continue to do that on a different level. “We care about the people in the community,” Karen said. “We want to be there for them if they are hurting.”

Miriam is exploring becoming an EMT-Advanced or Paramedic. Karen is thinking about nursing.

“Swiss Valley just gained two phenomenal girls as EMTs,” stated instructor Dana Ely Miller upon announcing the Schlabach sisters passing scores. “I would trust either of them with my life, they both put 100 percent effort into class and they know their stuff inside and out! You couldn’t ask for two better ladies!”

This story originally appeared in the September 5, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.