U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden announces funding to help improve emergency services in rural Southwest Wisconsin

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 9:41 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - U.S. Representative Derrick Van Orden made a visit to the Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance dispatch center in La Crosse Friday afternoon.

He made an announcement regarding emergency services for rural communities, and it was for legislation that would allocate $600,000 to Gundersen.

The congressman said the legislation has made it passed the agriculture committee, in which he sits on, and will be up for a vote on the house floor in Washington.

If passed, the funds could allow Gunderson to purchase three new ambulances and hire about 18 paramedics.

Tom Tornstrom, the administrative director of Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance, said the rural communities they serve suffer from a lack of resources, and the funds could help with response times.

Van Orden said he understood the difficult task of responding to emergencies.

“I was a paramedic in the SEAL teams also, so I’ve worked out of fire stations and being able to go out and help folks in distress. And you got to think the sooner someone gets medical intervention, the better the outcomes are,” said Rep/ Van Orden. “That’s statistically proven. It’s a very important service that Gunderson is providing to your community. And I’m very proud to be able to help them further their service.”

U.S. Representative Van Orden is still facing controversy about recent allegation of yelling at teenaged senate pages on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

When asked about his recent comments on the altercation, which are as follows:

“The Capitol Rotunda served as a field hospital where countless Union soldiers died fighting to free men in the Civil War. I have long said our nation’s Capitol is a symbol of the sacrifice our servicemen and women have made for this country and should never be treated like a frat house common room. Threatening a congressman with bad press to excuse poor behavior is a reminder of everything that’s wrong with Washington. Luckily, bad press has never bothered me and if it’s the price I pay to stand up for what’s right, then so be it.”

The representative said he gave constituents a tour of the hill, confronted the pages about what they were doing and went about the tour after.

Some of his colleagues are calling for footage of the incident to be released.