October 29, 2020 heralded the end of a long career in emergency services for Wakaw’s Paulette J. Gaudet. After 22 years of service at the end of her shift, Paulette officially retired. For the past ten years Paulette has been a steadfast part of the crew at Wakaw EMS, joining the team in 2010 when she and her husband Ben retired from farming. Prior to joining Wakaw EMS, Paulette was a First Responder at Bellevue from 1998 – 2010.
Originally from Somerset, Manitoba, Paulette met her future husband when her sister married his brother. Ben and Paulette began farming in the Bellevue area in 1970 and continued until retiring in 2010. They raised five girls on their farm and have been blessed with ten grandchildren. Three of their girls live in Saskatoon, one is in Winnipeg and Celeste lives here at Wakaw. In fact, they purchased the former Herman Schitka acreage at Wakaw Lake and Ben and Paulette live there with her and her family. Upon purchasing the acreage, they began planting an orchard which so far has 50 apple trees, cranberries, cherries, and grapes. Paulette has always had a large garden and enjoys making jams and preserves for her family. When asked what she thought she’d do with her time now that she is no longer going to be responding to the dispatch radio, she said she really didn’t have any plans but thought she’d get back to making quilts for the Care Home in Bellevue.
Paulette stated that she will miss the people the most and the varied conversations she could always count on with coworkers. Depending on who she was working with the conversations could range from farming to politics and everything in between. Of course, over the years Paulette has seen many young EMT’s come and go but one thing was common with all and that was the inevitable question, “Did I do everything right?” She remembers with a chuckle going on a call with Steve at 3 am one time and upon arriving at the residence, Steve was hurriedly getting the equipment sorted out, when Paulette calmly stated, “Wait a minute.” Sure enough, suddenly the back door of the ambulance opened, a gentleman climbed in and said, “Ok, let’s go.” Steve’s expression, she said, was unforgettable. One thing she won’t miss however, is the winter driving. No longer will she be heading out on the roads, when road conditions are strongly recommending that everyone just stays put for a while.
It took a bit of convincing to get Paulette to agree to this little salute, but there are few others who deserve a bit of recognition and a sincere thank-you for the years of service being on the frontlines in medical emergencies. Paulette, although you may dearly miss the camaraderie of your colleagues, from everyone in the communities you have served, THANK-YOU. Sit back, have another cup of coffee, and dream about your garden next year. Enjoy your retirement.
Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder