Hometown Heroes

“Paging all units… we have a two-car collision 1 mile south of the Crawfordsville, Iowa, exit on Highway 218.”

When an emergency call comes across scanners in rural Southeast Iowa, responders from Emergency Services of Washington County rush to the scene as quickly as possible. Even in the fastest effort, it takes approximately 20 minutes for the closest ambulance to arrive on the scene.

CrawfordsvilleTime is crucial for accident victims in any situation. Who will take care of them until help arrives? The answer is the Crawfordsville QRS (Quick Response Service), or Dave and Tammy Erwin.

My parents, Dave and Tammy, were asked to join the QRS shortly after they were married and moved to Crawfordsville. A family friend asked them to join the squad because they needed to recruit younger community members to increase the longevity of the program. My parents completed their training in the winter of 1991 and have been serving the Crawfordsville community for the past 27 years.

“We decided to become part of the program to serve our community. The numbers were down at the time, and we knew we could help. If our family member was in an accident, I would want QRS to be there to help them and so we will be there for other people and families,” says my mom, Tammy.

The Crawfordsville QRS is a smaller squad with 10 members, but all 270 of the town’s citizens greatly appreciate their work.

Dave and Tammy Erwin with their granddaughter Jenna Johnson.

Dave and Tammy Erwin with their granddaughter Jenna Johnson.

Most of the time, when my parents respond to a call, the victim is someone they know. This can sometimes make it a difficult task, but they are proud to help their friends in their time of need. In a smaller town, you may expect the severity of the accidents to be less but that is not the case in Crawfordsville.

“With a heavily traveled interstate running right by our town, we get a lot of calls for traffic accidents. We have helped with semi-rollovers, winter driving pileups, farming accidents and many more over the years of being first responders,” my dad explains.

My dad, Dave, is a farmer. He runs our family’s corn and soybean operation, as well as beef cow-calf herd located just east of Crawfordsville. This gives him the flexibility to help with the first responder calls during the work day. My mom works as a family practice nurse at Washington County Hospitals and Clinics in Washington. She also helps my dad farm in her spare time.

“While my job directly relates to the field, you don’t have to be a medical professional to be a first responder,” she explains. “You just have to perform basic procedures, which you’re train you to do, until medical help arrives. I would encourage others to volunteer in their communities.”

When I was growing up, I didn’t really think much of it when my parents would rush from the house to a First Responder Call. I assumed that most other parents did the same in their communities. Now that I have grown up and see the need for these services in rural Iowa, I realize that my parents are one of many hometown heroes among us!


Rural communities are the backbone of our country. Latham Hi-Tech Seeds recognizes and appreciates the many boots our employees, dealers and customers wear to keep rural America healthy. Help us serve those who serve us by nominating someone in your life to feature on https://www.lathamseeds.com and social media channels.