Chad Miner makes a difference with Erie Fire Protection District

Erie native serves as paramedic, deputy director for EFPD; volunteers with Newman baseball

First responder Chad Miner spends his free time as an assistant coach for the Newman baseball team.

STERLING – For Erie native Chad Miner, emergency medical services is a family business.

Miner, who serves as a paramedic and deputy director at Erie Fire Protection District, acquired his paramedic license earlier this year. He started out in the fire department in 2021 and worked on the ambulance shortly thereafter.

“EMS for me, I started on the fire department side and then kind of felt helpless at some of the scenes where people needed attention and that kind of motivated me to move into the EMS side of things.

—  Chad Miner, paramedic and Erie Fire Protection District deputy director

“For me, it’s kind of a family tradition, as it is for many in EMS,” Miner said. “My father’s been on the service for 40 years. My brother’s been on the fire department and ambulance combined for 30 years. My wife’s been on the ambulance for 24 years with me. My nephew is now a firefighter up in one of the suburbs, outside of Chicago. If you go to many volunteer fire departments, you’re going to see that there’s usually a family trend amongst them, so it’s pretty common.”

Miner studied at Black Hawk College after high school, then tried (and strongly disliked) accounting for a year at Illinois State. He later returned to Black Hawk to pursue an EMS career and also taught at the college for almost a decade.

“I spent a little over two years at Black Hawk getting the paramedic certification. It’s a fairly lengthy process, and it’s challenging now for students getting into it,” Miner said. “And then I taught at the college for about eight years, nine years, and that’s changed a lot over the years. It’s time-consuming, but it’s worth it for people that want to get into it.”

Having been around health care and EMS for most of his life, the transition to being a first responder was a natural one. Miner’s decision to flip from the fire department side of things to the EMS side was motivated by a desire to help people in need of immediate medical attention on the scenes he’d arrive at.

“With everybody in our family being involved in health care, whether it’s first responders – I’ve got a niece that’s a nurse, as well, my wife is a nurse practitioner for her full-time job at the Morrison hospital – being around health care’s never been challenging,” Miner said. “EMS for me, I started on the fire department side and then kind of felt helpless at some of the scenes where people needed attention, and that kind of motivated me to move into the EMS side of things.

“I’ve always been on Erie Fire District, on the ambulance, and I spent 10 years on the fire department, as well. But I spent 10 years working at Genesis Ambulance and then did that with Erie. At the time, I was a volunteer at Erie. Now Erie is a paid service, kind of a hybrid service where we’re part paid, part volunteer.”

In addition to his community service as a first responder, Miner also coaches bowling and baseball. This year is his first as a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Newman Central Catholic. Chad’s son, Ashton, is a Newman freshman who recently transferred.

With some encouragement from an assistant coach, Chad joined the Newman baseball staff this season.

“My son Ashton decided to transfer up here. He knew some kids up here, one of whom he played baseball against in Riley Mason,” Miner said. “His dad is an assistant coach, so he kind of talked to me a little bit about helping, saying that they’re always looking for good volunteers to help with really any of the programs here. So I reached out to [Newman] Coach [Kenny] Koerner. He was all for any help that he can get is good help. I started with open gyms in January with the team and just kind of carried through since then.”

Miner has coached quite a bit over the years. He spent the last six years assisting the Erie-Prophetstown baseball program, the last four with the varsity team. He also helps with the E-P bowling team on occasion and has coached a travel baseball team called the Midwest Stars. He’s also coached rec league baseball in Erie with Ashton and his two older sons.

Miner has been a part of the Erie Baseball Association for the past 15 years. He and a couple of other people established the E-P Junior Panthers baseball and softball program in 2014. He also spent eight years on the Erie School Board.

Miner grew up playing youth baseball. He played high school basketball and golf, as well.

When Miner isn’t serving his community with Erie Fire Protection District or coaching high school sports, he likes to bowl and golf.

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Dan Wussow

Dan Wussow

Dan is the sports editor for Sauk Valley Media. Previously, he wrote for The Post-Crescent in his hometown of Appleton, WI.