Have you ever volunteered for something that end up costing you? Have you ever had good intentions only to be taken advantage of? I am in that situation right now with the management of Crow Wing County. My story starts with being asked to help out by being a role player for the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department. A few of us have done this from time to time to help them train. We do scenarios of different situations they may encounter in the field. In March of 2003, I was a role player as I have been many times. During a scenario, my arm was accidentally hit causing my biceps muscle to totally tear loose from one end. The injury caused me to have to have surgery to repair the biceps muscle and an overnight stay in St. Joseph's. It also caused me to use 10 days of sick leave from my work, three months of lost time with the Brainerd Fire Department. costing me pension money (approximately $1,200), as well as hourly wages from fire calls (approximately $300), and over $500 in insurance co-pays. As well as having to go through months of physical therapy. Now is where it gets interesting.
I asked Sheriff Eric Klang in a written letter to see if there was some way the county could help me cover my losses out of pocket. Mr. Klang then passed the information on to the county's' insurance company which in turn totally denied to help. I received a letter that stated that since I was a volunteer, the county of Crow Wing and its employees were in no way liable for my injury. I then wrote to the county commissioners directly. The first letter received no response. So again I wrote to the commissioners and sent it registered mail so I knew they had received it. Well, that was three months ago. To this day I have not received a single letter, phone call, or reply in any way from the board of commissioners of our great country. I watch every month in The Dispatch for their meeting minutes to see if it has even been brought up and it has never been noted.
In closing I just wanted everyone to know how our county has decided to treat a taxpaying resident of 38 years and a volunteer. I was lucky to have insurance or my willingness to volunteer would have cost me over $13,000. And it still would have been "out of my pocket." Well, at least I have a three inch scar to remind me how much they appreciated it.
(Innes is a Brainerd resident.)
(Editor's note: The Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust responded to Innes in June of 2003 informing him that he was not entitled to reimbursement and the county was free of negligence.)
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