The St. Louis County Sheriff's Volunteer Rescue Squad has provided rescue services and disaster relief within our county for 53 years.

The St. Louis County Volunteer Rescue Squad was founded on August 23, 1958, by three men: Fred Van Derwalker, Donald Isakson, and Roderick Appleby.

The unit they envisioned was one of volunteer private citizens, who, in their free time, would train extensively in various aspects of rescue work, searches, first aid, and accident prevention by public education.

On August 23, 1958, this group of men approached Sheriff Sam Owens with the idea of forming such a rescue unit for St. Louis County.  They were informed by the County Attorney that state legislation was required to authorize the county to accept such a unit.

Officers and charter members of the Rescue Squad were:

  • Captain Fred Van Derwalker
  • 1st Lieutenant Harold “Bozo” Wilson              
  • 2nd Lieutenant Ryan Markfelt
  • Sgt. Donald Isakson
  • Sgt. Royal Adams
  • Ken Slatten, Secretary
  • Robert Lee, Treasurer
  • James Rogers
  • Harlin Behn
  • Dave Coleman
  • Marsh Slatten
  • Rod Appleby  
  • James Helgemoe
  • Gordon Bromme
  • Robert Olson

1970 Expansion

In 1968 Sheriff Greg Sertich stated he would like to see the Rescue Squad expanded to include a detachment on the Iron Range, possibly based in Virginia, to provide the same rescue squad service which was available in Duluth to residents of northern areas of St. Louis County.

In 1970 the swearing-in of the Charter Members for the Range detachment of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Rescue Unit was held at the Cook Village Hall.

This group would supplement the thirty-man squad which was based in Duluth and brought the squad up to its maximum authorized strength of forty-five men. 

The Rescue Squad was headed by Captain Ken Slatten.  Officers of the newly formed group were:

  • 1st Lieutenant in charge of Range detachment Robert Carver
  • 2nd Lieutenant Frank Hyppa
  • 2nd Lieutenant Donald Price
  • John Amundson
  • Melvin Bakk
  • Donald Barnes
  • John Bergman
  • Arnie Johnson
  • Kenneth Leding
  • Paul Richardson
  • Dennis Rinne
  • Donald Simonson
  • Dexter Straw
  • Associate member David Angler


Rescue Squad Office

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