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MENOMONEE FALLS - In the beginning, it was all about helping people.

“It really was that simple and it really was that important to me to make a difference for people however I could,” said Terry Kveen, a Menomonee Falls resident who served on the Lannon Fire Department for almost 30 years prior to retiring in 2012.

When he was appointed to the Lannon Fire Department in February 1986, Kveen's application simply said, “I am interested in helping” as the reason he wanted to join.

And the longer he was with the department, the more steadfast that desire became. Throughout his career, he held positions of emergency medical technician, fire recruit, motor pump operator, IV technician and, ultimately, he retired as assistant chief.

“If you ever had the privilege of starting a non-beating heart, you know the emotional high an experience like that has on not only yourself, but everyone who is impacted by it,” said Kveen.

That is among the reasons why Kveen explained that he knew he wanted to find a way to leave a legacy with the department, as well as the community.

“We can say without a doubt, Terry has more than lived up to what he said on his original application,” assistant fire chief James Mollet said. “Over the course of his career, he responded to thousands of calls for service, and would regularly donate his entire paid-on-call check to the local food pantries in Menomonee Falls and Sussex.”

He also regularly donated to the Menomonee Falls Police Department, the Lions Club and the Lannon Car Show, as well as to schools and churches in the area.

So when Mollet received a donation of $8,000 from Kveen last fall, it was not that big of a surprise to see who it was from.

“It happened completely out of the blue, but that was really the only thing that surprised me about it,” Mollet said.

The donation almost completely covered the subsequent purchase of a device that has been used to assist about a dozen calls since it became operational in October.

“The LUCAS 2 Chest Compression system is an incredibly valuable piece of equipment, since it essentially becomes another person on the scene,” Mollet said. “It makes a tremendous difference on a call because we can do other critical, life-saving things with the patient while the machine essentially does consistent CPR without tiring.”

The machine quite literally can help the department save lives, which is why Kveen said it seemed like the perfect fit to donate.

Because in the end, it’s still about helping people.

“The Lord has touched everybody’s heart differently and one of the ways He’s touched mine was in helping people,” he said. “That’s what I aimed to do for all those years at the fire department, so it means something to me to help provide something that can continue to do the same.”

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