Meet MOFGA Volunteer Cheri Volta
By Betsy Garrold
Cheri Volta carries the enthusiasm that she has for emergency medical services (EMS) into every aspect of her life. Her dedication to keeping people safe at the Common Ground Country Fair is contagious, pardon the pun.
Volta first came to the Fair as a paid staffer on the ambulance that Northern Light Health provides to be onsite at the Unity fairgrounds every year. She subsequently volunteered at the EMS tent for several years. At the 2008 Fair a confluence of events — a very hot day and a swarm of wasps at one of the lemonade stands — led to Volta jumping in to help coordinate the medical response to the many cases of heat stroke and wasp stings that ensued. By the end of the day, she had been asked to become one of the co-coordinators of the EMS area.
This area is unique in its recruitment of volunteers. Because those who volunteer need to have a first aid, EMS or other medical background, Volta spends time between Fairs staying in contact with the “regulars” and requesting that qualified medical personnel (from wilderness first responders and lifeguards to nurses and doctors) volunteer in the EMS area. She then pairs newbies and experienced volunteers into teams that walk around the grounds keeping an eye on the fairgoers.
Volta likes to think of the medical tent as a giant ambulance. She says that the medical team at the Common Ground Country Fair has a slightly different view of their responsibilities in comparison to medical teams at other fairs or large public events. “Our goal,” says Volta, “is to keep people at the Fair.” They work to deal with any medical condition that they can to “allow the fairgoers to continue enjoying their day at the Fair.” The doctors who volunteer can provide many services, from checking blood pressure to suturing wounds. “We want to make sure your day at the Fair is not ruined,” she adds.
April Boucher, fair director, says of Volta, “Cheri is awesome and I'm thankful she is an EMS coordinator. She is an active leader and takes on tasks to help ensure EMS at the Fair runs smoothly. It is great to have her on the planning team as we work to support a safe and healthy Fair."
Volta is glad to help. “This is the coolest fair I’ve ever been to, not the typical rides and fried food.” The workshops, where you can learn everything from beekeeping to spinning angora yarn are great, says Volta. “As a vegan I love the Common Kitchen where the volunteers are fed. I can always find something delicious to eat. I am so happy I can contribute to this event by giving back with my training and expertise.”
The Fair and its attendees are lucky to have this enthusiastic volunteer keeping us all safe.