By Samantha Hilker
Jon Cohn was voted on the PAAW Board during executive session at the September 20th meeting. Jon brings with him 26 years of experience in the fire service and EMS and currently serves as the Chief of Greenfield Fire Rescue. Jon has also served as President of the Wisconsin State Fire Chief’s Association and held various instructor roles in higher education.
Jon is humble and doesn’t like to talk about himself. Getting a bio out of him for the 2018 Midwest EMS Expo (view here!) was like pulling teeth, and he basically gave me free reign over this profile piece. Instead of copying and pasting the information available via LinkedIn or the Midwest EMS Expo bio, I’m going to share my personal story of Jon Cohn (the short version, don’t worry!).
The first time I met Jon we were both in Ft. Worth, Texas visiting MedStar’s MIH program to learn about their experience, design and how we might bring it back to our respective services in Wisconsin. To set the stage, I was one of two representatives from a private ambulance service (and the other guy came with me). The rest of the room consisted of representatives from career fire departments, a representative from the fire union, and a few representatives from a health care organization in the Milwaukee area. Don’t get me wrong – they were all genuinely nice people, some of which I knew before that visit, but my colleague and I found ourselves sitting quietly on the outer perimeter of the room watching, listening and absorbing. Jon was the only person in the room to walk over to us, extend a hand, introduce himself and ask for our perspective, as representatives from a private service. It was clear from that moment that Jon was excited at the opportunity to raise the bar of EMS in the State of Wisconsin whether it be through a community paramedic program or other ways that encouraged collaboration and relationship building. I didn’t see Jon again until a chance meeting at the CPR in Schools bill signing in Central Wisconsin years later. He remembered me immediately and was quick to walk up and say hello, catch up on what was new and exciting in our respective regions and share his excitement for the CPR in Schools initiative.
So why am I telling you about the first two times I met Jon? Because those two encounters are examples of why I was happy to see Jon elected to the PAAW Board – his focus on progress, commitment to relationships, and hope for the future are qualities that lead to transformative change and future growth. Jon believes it is easy (but wrong) to focus on our mission and serve with individual or organizational interests in mind. The challenge (and most effective) is to focus on our future, the vision and serve the totality of the industry and the interests of all.
Congratulations, Jon, and welcome to PAAW!