The Gladbrook Corn Carnival Corporation has named Gene Seda as the Grand Marshall of the 2013 parade. The parade will take place on Friday, June 28 at 6:30 PM.
Gene was selected as Grand Marshall because of 42 years of dedicated service to the Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service. He plans to retire after Corn Carnival. His years of service began in 1972 - with a whole lot of of urging from Jerry Psotka and Virginia Parsons.
"I took the first aid class out of curiosity - must have been a slow Sunday. We had 30 to 40 people at first and I thought this won't be too bad. But it weeded down fast. And we only had four pagers that had to be passed around. I started three months after it initially began.", noted Gene.
Gene Seda has been named the 2013 Gladbrook Corn Carnival Parade Grand Marshall. He has served the Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service for 42 years and plans to retire this summer. He farms and also owns Seda Repair, located on the home farm east of Gladbrook. He is pictured on his Case 730 tractor.
The biggest change has been the inception of cell phones. The calls originally were sent to the nursing home and they called the pagers. Gene said his worst call was in 1984 when Ron Busch got caught in the PTO of the manure spreader. Alice Hamman had taken the call and in turn called Leila Seda who told Gene as he arrived to celebrate Christmas with his folks. Gene said, "I took off in my old pick-up and actually passed the ambulance driven by Carol Parsons. It was so icy Carol asked me if I wanted to drive to the hospital in Marshalltown. I was to be in Ron's wedding four days later." Ron and Gene were classmates in the Gladbrook High School Class of 1967.
Another tough call he particularly remembers was during Corn Carnival when de-tasselers were killed in a car crash at an intersection west of town. Two teens died at the scene and more succumbed later. Gene noted that there always seems to be action during Corn Carnival. He mentioned one year when his family was going to ride the parade route in the ambulance with him. They were waiting to start when a call came in, out went the kids and he took off. It was a no transport and he got back in line with the kids only to have a second call come in.
He said when his two boys were little they would be "farming" on the living room carpet moving the tractors and all of a sudden Brian would say, "Got an ambulance call!" He would hurry over to the little pick-up and take off.
When asked if he ever delivered a baby, he quickly laughed and said, "Almost delivered Dan." Barb and Brian had been sick with the stomach flu all night and she mentioned she wondered if she could be having a little labor. They decided to go to the hospital. Gene said, "As we pulled onto Highway 14 the radio announcer said it was 3:30 and Dan was born at 4:06!"
Following high school graduation, Gene attended the Universal Trade School in Omaha. He took general automotive mechanics. He worked off farm for a while and began farming with his Dad, Fred Seda. The duo also started Seda Repair 42 years ago. It is a well known fact among local farmers that if Sedas could not fix it, it was not fixable. Gene said Bob Pippert commented, "Gene is the only person I know who can go from working on a Ford 8N to a Ford Taurus '06."
To further his ambulance call skills, Gene took the first local EMT class. Of six who started the class only Gene and Maxine Schoel completed the requirements. He adds, "It was one of those things I fell into and didn't know what I was getting into."
Gene was up to be drafted and he took the physical and his blood pressure was too high. He was sent to Dr. Schaeferle for a second opinion and it was still a bit too high. Gene says Doc said, "You know, I think you could do a lot of good here." And Gene adds, "Maybe he knew something I didn't."
In 1976 Gene married Barbra Allen, a Gladbrook teacher. They are the parents of two sons. Brian has a PhD in plant genetics and is head soybean breeder for Pioneer. He lives near York, NE.
Son Dan and his wife, Katie, live in Urbandale where they work for Principal Insurance. Dan also has been working part time on the Urbandale Fire and Rescue. He followed in Dad's foot steps and is an EMT and trained fireman. He is beginning to work on his Master of Business. The couple is expecting their first child in October.
Currently there are only about eight members on the Gladbrook-Lincoln Ambulance Service. That is a tremendous load for so few people. The community owes them all a heart felt thank you! Serving actually is a family affair. Schedules have to be changed for on call, you have to stay close to Gladbrook, and of course the immediate response to an emergency.
So, Gene, from all of us we say, "Thank you for 42 years of dedicated service and taking care of us. And congratulations to you - the 2013 Grand Marshall!"