Original Community Paramedic Hjermstad Dies at 62
Kai Hjermstad, a key figure in Minnesota’s pioneering community paramedic efforts, died on December 28 at age 62.
Hjermstad was coordinator of customized EMS and community paramedic training at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minn. He had been involved in the state’s CP efforts since their inception, in 2008 becoming one of the first eight official community paramedics in the U.S. when the state began piloting CP care. He had been an EMT since 1989 and a paramedic since 1994, serving as a field training officer and assistant director of Mdewakanton Emergency Services. He was also an adviser to The Paramedic Foundation.
Mobile CE is establishing a scholarship in Hjermstad’s memory; its Kai Hjermstad Memorial Scholarship will help community paramedic students complete the CP national curriculum Program. For more information see https://mobilece.org/kai-scholarship/. The forthcoming community paramedic curriculum 4.0 will also be dedicated to him.
“Kai was a paramedic, community paramedic, and well-known educator with a heart of gold,” colleague Mary Ahlers said in a statement announcing the scholarship. “He always demonstrated a self-fulfilling commitment to see desirous EMS providers become true practitioners through self-development and education. We want Kai’s passion and love for community paramedicine to continue in others as it did in him. We want to help students achieve their calling and dream to become a community paramedic by being able to award a scholarship to help with some of the cost.”
Hjermstad is survived by his wife, Karen; children Tessa (Chris) Beattie; Kai C. Hjermstad, Jr. (Stefanie Guindon-Hjermstad); Brandon (Melanie) Smieja; Shaun Smieja; Angela (Brian) Amundson; grandchildren Rhys, Sidney, Charlie, Cameron, Weston, Kayleigh, and Paisley; and sister, Kimberly Scheller.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, Jan. 3, at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato (11 a.m. CST), with visitation an hour prior to the service and from 5–8 p.m. Jan. 2 at White Funeral Home. For more: http://www.whitefuneralhomes.com/fh/home/home.cfm?fh_id=11395.