Every part of the child's body quivered and jerked. It was Gscheidmeier's first ambulance call with the New Berlin Fire Department.
"My knees actually shook, " he remembered. But it wasn't because he was frightened at the frightening scene before him.
"It was because I was so amped up, " he said. He was just 19, but this taught him something.
"I knew this is what I wanted to do, " he said.
Gscheidmeier was a young man who found his calling after he thought he had already found his calling.
"I started in computers — at the totally opposite end of things, " he said. But a friend was in firefighting and the young computer student kept asking him about it. Finally, the friend said — why don't you check it out and see if you like it?
"I tried it, and I never looked back, " remembered the young man who is now a paramedic lieutenant and firefighter with the department, which he joined in 2003.
The young man who didn't know he wanted to be a firefighter was recently named Firefighter of the Year by the Waukesha County Fire Chiefs Association.
"It was quite a shock to me, " the modest Gscheidmeier said. "It's fantastic, but I think there are 100 people who deserve it as well."
"I'm amazed the chief nominated me, " he said.
But Fire Chief Lloyd Bertram said Gscheidmeier is outstanding.
"I'm proud of the work he's done, not only building the New Berlin Fire Department but Waukesha firefighting as a whole, " Bertram said.
The world of computers that Gscheidmeier left for the world of saving lives played a major role in his winning Firefighter of the Year — that and a love and enthusiasm for the job.
In nominating Gscheidmeier, Bertram wrote in part: "Ross has continuously gone above and beyond what is expected by taking responsibility for the development of the Power Points and building and maintaining the website used by the training officers.
"Without any direction from the training officers, Ross developed the website, tested it and presented the website as an option for the training officers to use as a central platform for information."
The site has been invaluable, Bertram wrote: "I personally believe the website has been key to the continued growth and momentum of the training officer section."
The chief also praised Gscheidmeier for the training videos he created that he said are much easier to understand than what they used previously. Some of the videos the techno-wiz produced are even used by other departments, Bertram said.
Gscheidmeier had been training director for the New Berlin Fire Department until this year. Because the department is trying to improve the way it presents the training, a lieutenant on each shift is now involved in planning it.
Gscheidmeier welcomed the change.
"We're always improving things, " he said.
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