CUBA CITY— A belief in giving back what you can has led Rita Luna to share her talents of medical assistance and education through the Cuba City Area Rescue Squad.
Luna has been an educator for 30 years. She taught kindergarten at Cuba City Elementary School and was an administrator of the EMS and fire programs and early childhood at Southwest Technical College. She now teaches special education at Hillcrest-Lawther Academy in Dubuque.
When she first started teaching at Cuba City Schools, Luna remembers principal Joe Goeman telling her that she can make a difference.
“I took that to heart, that we do need to make a difference in some way,” Luna said.
Luna has been a member of the rescue squad since 1990.
“My dad had a massive heart attack and I was the one to call 911,” Luna said. “I felt so helpless.”
Soon after, the Cuba City Area Rescue Squad asked for volunteers, threatening to fold the organization because there weren’t enough members to keep it operating. Luna and 10 others joined that spring.
“It has become such a passion for me,” Luna said. “It is a huge commitment, but I really believe that you should give back what you can. This is something I can do.”
She said she has served almost all of the officer positions of the rescue squad throughout the years, many more than once. Luna is currently the president of the Cuba City Area Rescue Squad.
She also served on the Cuba City Fire Department for 11 years. Luna’s husband, Kelvin, and her have a combined total of 73 years of service to fire and EMS in Cuba City.
“It’s tough to see people at their worst moment, but I’m grateful that I can help them,” Luna said. “I see relief in their eyes when we come in. To me, it’s where I need to be.”
Luna also teaches CPR and first aid at no cost to help train as many people as possible.
Luna said she sees Cuba City as a proactive community. She said the city has been working toward making the community safer and more viable for new businesses and growth.
“I see this as a positive thing because we need more volunteers,” Luna said. “Having more people come to our community will help. We have a good school system and infrastructure. It’s a good place to raise our kids.”
She said if she changed anything it would be to provide more diverse activities for kids in the community. Not all kids are interested in sports and Cuba City seems to be centered around athletic pastimes.
“Volunteerism is important to me,” Luna said. “I want to move that forward. There are so many ways that people can help out in our community.”
She and Kelvin have three children—Jessica, Lacey and Dustin—and six grandchildren.
Editor's Note: This column will be a special addition to the Tri-County Press on a monthly basis. Look for each installment near the end of the month. All volunteers are recomended for the article by Mayor Tom Gile. If you have ideas for future volunteers in the community to be recognized, contact Gile at 608-744-3203.