May township resident William Emison and two other area residents who wish to remain anonymous are offering to match donations to area hospitals for the purchase of new ventilator machines.

Emison worked in business development until his retirement several years ago and said he got the idea after reading an article in Forbes magazine that discussed the shortage of ventilators throughout the country. 

“That bothered me,” he said. “And two Fridays ago now I woke up, opened my eyes and decided I wanted to be the bridge.”

Emison reached out to three hospitals in the area, Lakeview hospital in Stillwater, Minn., St. Croix Regional Medial Center in St. Croix Falls Wisc., and the Osceola Medical Center in Osceola, Wisc. to see if they would be interested in a matching grant style program. 

“I said ‘I’d like you to make the decision now to buy additional equipment,’” he said. “And we’re going to sponsor it come hell or high water.” 

All three hospitals have agreed to the arrangement and orders have been placed for additional supplies. Emison is ready to match up to $275,000 in donations. 

Emison said he and his wife Tina have given to organizations regularly in the past and they feel especially compelled with this pandemic hitting so close to home.

“The need is right here,” he said. “These are our neighbors.” 

Emison said conversations with hospital officials solidified the need to help out. 

“They are doing everything they can to get their equipment ready and everything else possible,” he said. “It’s going to be a big hurdle for them.”

Bob Wolf, the director of community engagement at the Osceola Medical Center, said they’re incredibly thankful for Emison’s generosity.

“This offer from Bill, is a wonderful offer,” he said. “No doubt about it.”

Wolf said the community at large has been very supportive of the hospital as it readies for COVID-19 to impact the local area. 

“We’ve been experiencing tremendous support from the community already,” he said. “That support is an amazing thing for the health of our community.”

Emison echoed that statement, and said the chance to give back at a time like this is an incredible opportunity. 

“Giving — if it’s a buck or a million bucks, it’s a joy,” he said. “This is our legacy right now, it’s happening right in front of us.”

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