Introducing new paramedic and hospital chef / manager of nutritional services

To new team members have joined Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics. Paramedic Chris Fezer and chef Kurt Rummell put patients and community first in their new jobs.

New paramedic says it’s all about the patients Paramedic Chris Fezer recently joined the emergency medical team at Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC). Experienced in both emergency medicine and firefighting, Chris grew up in Wenatchee, served four years in the Air Force and worked for Lifeline Ambulance in the Omak and Okanogan area.

Chris chose to purse paramedic school at Central Washington University in 2010 after he decided to focus on the medical side of emergencies versus firefighting. After that, he went to Caldwell Flight School in preparation to become a flight medic. He earned his helicopter license and became a flight instructor and tour pilot as well. Last fall he returned to Omak as a paramedic, taking a position with LCCHC this year.

“I like this job because it’s all about the patients,” he said. “When I was a firefighter, the more I worked around the medicine side of it, the more I enjoyed the puzzle of it and the patient interaction.”

Chris is excited to live in north central Washington near family. “You don’t realize what you have until you leave,” he said.

He’s especially drawn to the area and its recreational opportunities, including backpacking, hiking, rock climbing and fishing. “The mountains are just down the road,” he said. “I like the idea I can drive five minutes and be on a beautiful trail.”

New manager of nutritional services sinks his teeth into healthy gourmet cooking to promote wellness Chef Kurt Rummell from Astoria looks forward to whipping up delicious, healthy food at Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics. He also hopes to partner with the community to focus on local, fresh food and promote good health through nutrition as the new manager of nutritional services.

Before becoming a chef, Kurt worked for ten years in healthcare at long-term care and assisted living facilities in Clatsop County. He was studying to be a nurse when he realized his calling was in a different field of healing – food.

On his days off, Kurt would return to the care facility to bake pies for the residents. My baking had a positive impact on the patients, he explained. “I liked that my cooking made a difference in their lives.”

Those were fateful pies. One day a resident’s family member, who was enjoying a slice, said something that changed Kurt’s trajectory. “You really missed your calling,” said the family member. “You should have been a chef.”

“After hearing that, I asked myself if I should stay in healthcare or switch to culinary,” said Kurt. “The comment flipped a switch, and a light bulb came on.”

Kurt toured the Western Culinary Institute, now Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, in Portland, and sat in on classes. Afterward, he signed up for 14- month course and earned his culinary arts diploma.

His experience since includes working at the Portland City Grill and as the executive chef at Columbian Memorial Hospital in Astoria, where he brought the concept of farm to table to the hospital’s cafeteria and catering program, as well as worked with the dietician to revamp the patient menus and use more local and fresh food. He also finished additional training in restaurant hospitality management and patisserie and baking.

Kurt, who recently moved to north central Washington with his wife, looks forward to sharing his passion for food with LCCHC and the community. He is especially excited about local agriculture and excited to incorporate it into his cooking.