Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. An interesting chain of relationships resulted in Sauk Prairie Healthcare Foundation procuring three trailers to be used at area clinics as they perform curbside testing for COVID-19.

Since late March, the Sauk Prairie Healthcare Lodi and River Valley (located in Spring Green) Clinics, as well as the Prairie Clinic in Sauk City have been using tents to facilitate curbside COVID-19 testing. The tents are not ideal, and with the recent windy and cold weather, they needed to be replaced.

Todd Wuerger, Executive Director of Sauk Prairie Healthcare Foundation, was charged with finding a replacement for the tents. Todd didn’t think he knew anyone in the trailer business, but then a light bulb went off.

“It all started with a business card. I met one of our former patients, Ed Prochaska, at one of the joint replacement reunion luncheons the hospital hosts at the Dorf Haus,” Wuerger said in a news release. “Ed and I had a nice conversation and he gave me his card. He co-owns Middleton and Sun Prairie Power Center. I wasn’t exactly sure what they did, but figured if anyone knew where I could find a trailer, Ed would.

“Ed was not there when I called, but the person answering the phone turned out to be Brett Suchla, a friend of mine — our boys play hockey together, Wuerger continued. “He didn’t have any enclosed trailers, but suggested I call Peter Tonn, the owner of I-39 Supply in Portage, because they have several. When I called Peter, he was incredibly gracious and said he absolutely wanted to support this effort. He ended up donating the use of three trailers for each of the clinics.”

Peter Tonn, a Lodi Alderperson, lives a block away from the Lodi Clinic.

“I received the call from Todd, looking for a trailer and I was happy to help,” Tonn said in the release. “I know healthcare workers are on the front lines and they’re putting themselves at risk every single day. By providing these trailers, we are making it easier for them to help our families, friends and neighbors. It was totally the right thing to do.”

The trailers have been located at each of the clinics and are already in use.

Dr. Ellen Wermuth, a family physician with the River Valley Clinic, had been working along with the other providers weathering the conditions outside the clinic to do curbside COVID-19 testing.

“The weather this week has been particularly brutal with the bitterly cold wind,” Wermuth said. “On (April 14), we were all blessed with the delivery of a trailer from I-39 Supply. I was fortunate to see the first patient in a comfortable warm trailer. The patient was thankful and we are forever grateful. Undoubtedly, we will continue to test patients for COVID-19 for months to come. Thanks to I-39 Supply for this wonderful donation that keeps us going as we weather the COVID-19 storm.”

In addition to procuring trailers, the Foundation is actively raising funds to support demands as we prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients. The hospital is purchasing disinfectant equipment and solutions, protective gear for workers including masks, gowns and gloves, and medical equipment for patients such as IV Pumps, ventilators and filters for equipment to help protect patients.

This equipment alone will cost close to $170,000. The community is encouraged to give on the website https://www.saukprairiehealthcare.org/give and select “greatest needs”. Or send a check with “Greatest Needs” in the memo to:

Sauk Prairie Healthcare Foundation

260 26th Street

Prairie du Sac, WI 53578

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