I-41 pileup first responders honored for work

NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) -- The massive pileup on Interstate 41 in Winnebago County on February 24 is the largest crash in the state's history.

First Responders honored for work during I-41 car pileup in February.

On Tuesday, Gold Cross recognized personnel from the dozens of agencies that were involved in the response.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Neenah served as a warming shelter for victims of the crash. That’s where first responders were honored for the work they did that day.

“Watching the footage that Winnebago [County Sheriff's Office] put together and kind of reliving it that way, it's amazing to think how we got everybody off scene,” said John Meissner, a paramedic for Gold Cross. His ambulance was the first to respond.

“We were thinking it was probably more like 20, and then when we started approaching the scene and realizing it was significantly more than 40. Yeah, that wasn't a real good feeling especially with the snow and wind,” said Meissner.

First responders worked through below-freezing temperatures and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour.

“I've been in law enforcement, this will be my 26th year, and I have never experienced anything like that,” said Lt. Lori Seiler of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

There were more than 200 people involved in the crash. One died, 71 people had injuries, and a total of 131 vehicles were damaged.

While the fire departments, police and paramedics were thanked, they also thanked the community.

“I would just say that I was overwhelmed at the community how they supported everyone, not only on scene but also at the warming shelters,” said Lt. Seiler.

Gold Cross also gave out challenge coins to those who responded to the scene.

They're given out to employees who have gone above and beyond while on the job.

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