EMT Instructor of 42 years at Fox Valley Technical College passes away
Before his passing peacefully on November 3 following a diagnosis of cancer, Robert (Bob) Sternhagen of Appleton was recognized for his considerable contributions to emergency medical services.
Bob spent his 40+ year career in EMS, an interest that started when he was a teen in the late 1960's going on emergency calls. In 1974, Bob was hired by the Wisconsin Technical school system as its first EMS instructor, and in 1975 he began training paramedics. His dream of human patient simulation training became reality in 2013 with building a state-of-the art 66,000 square-foot, three-story Health Simulation and Technology Center on the Appleton campus at Fox Valley Technical College.
This past October, just a few weeks before Bob's passing, Gold Cross Ambulance, Menasha, the ambulance service he began his career at in the 1960's, celebrated its 25th year of service. At this occasion, Bob received the Honorary Star of Life award from the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) for his commitment to, and support of, emergency medical services throughout the Fox Valley. Pictured at the event with Bob, center, are Dr. F. Mark Moore, left, and Jim Welch, right, former owner of Gold Cross Ambulance. All three gentlemen were instrumental in the early days of EMS in the Fox River Valley.
Another of Bob's highest honors came in September 2016 when Dr. Susan May, President of Fox Valley Technical College, established the annual Robert G. Sternhagen Innovation through Technology Award as a tribute to his pioneering work in advancing technology and innovation at the college. At the time of his death, Bob was in his 42nd year of teaching at Fox Valley Technical College.