Ixonia first responder, nurse dies from COVID-19 complications

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After a courageous fight with complications related to COVID-19, a longtime member of the Ixonia Fire Department passed away. 

The Town of Ixonia Fire Department reported active member Kelly Raether joined the department in November of 2005, and served as an advanced EMT, EMS lieutenant and most recently as EMS captain.

“This had Kelly’s name, her name plaque on here," Ixonia Fire Chief David Schilling told CBS 58 as he described Raether's former firehouse locker. "Her ID number, and her years of service. Her mother has that now.”

The 42-year-old was also a registered nurse working at Aurora Hospital in Hartford, as well as a nursing instructor at Carroll University in Waukesha. 

“She’s going to be missed. You can’t replace a person like that," Schilling said. "Somebody with that much dedication to health care, both in the field setting and in the hospital setting, and then also to be an educator where she really, really, blossomed.”

Schilling said that Raether was exposed to the coronavirus in late October after helping transport a patient to the hospital.

The next day, he said the crew was told the patient had tested positive for COVID-19.

The crew quarantined.

“At that time none of us showed any symptoms during that quarantine time and we went back to work," he explained.

Soon after, he said Raether started to feel sick and later tested positive. She quarantined a second time, and then her symptoms got worse.

“She ended up becoming a little more sick, difficulty breathing," he said.

Schilling explained that Raether went to the hospital on Nov. 9 and died Nov. 26.

“This locker’s gonna remain empty and her number will not be assigned to anybody. And her other actual department ID number will be retired," he said.

Funeral services for Raether will happen on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The Ixonia Fire Department posted their sentiments on Facebook:

"As a department, we mourn Kelly’s loss deeply, and extend our thoughts and prayers to the Raether family in their time of need," the Ixonia Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services said in a Facebook post.

The post from the department goes on to read, "Rest in Peace Sister, we'll take it from here." 

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