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  1. Emergency workers honor man who always helped them By KAREN MADDEN Daily Tribune Staff For about 60 years, emergency workers in the south Wood County area knew they could count on Herbert A. Nieman. Nieman, who died Saturday at the age of 93, started Nieman's Service in 1945. He responded with his wrecker in nice weather, rain or snow, said Wood County Sheriff Thomas Reichert. "He was truly a friend of law enforcement and a friend of our community," Reichert said. Herbert Nieman's family heard first-hand during his visitation Tuesday how the community felt, said his son, Bill Nieman, 53. People who had known him since World War II told family members they never had a better friend than Herbert Nieman. Bill Nieman wasn't surprised. "Whenever there was a need and no means to take care of it, dad would always help out," he said. "He was a caring person. He was a loving person, who never wanted to be recognized for the things he did." Herbert Nieman was available to help any time of the day and any day of the year, said Wisconsin Rapids Police Chief Kurt Heuer. "When a wrecker was needed from Nieman's for any type of situation, be it an accident, disabled vehicle, or whatever, Herb was always available and always there to help," Heuer said. Herbert Nieman liked his job, but what he really enjoyed was people, his son said. And he remembered the name of everyone he met. Bill Nieman remembers how as a child, he and his two brothers, Doug, now 55, and Lance, now 52, raced to get ready and be the first to get to their dad's wrecker when a call came in during the night. "The first person to get there got to go along with dad," Bill Nieman said. "They were good nights." The brothers grew up knowing the members of law enforcement agencies, fire departments and rescue groups. They all worked together to help people at crash scenes, Bill Nieman said. Herbert Nieman taught his sons to be self sufficient, but also to help others when they could, his son said. He helped the Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department: Firefighters got their extraction training through cars he donated, said Assistant Chief Dave Kerkman. "He would bring them over after they were damaged, free of charge, and put them out back," Kerkman said. "We'd see him and car accidents and they would always do what they could to help." Bill Nieman believes his father was rewarded for the way he lived his life. He needed a heart valve but knew he had a full life and was getting tired, Bill Nieman said. He died the way he wanted to, and he didn't suffer. "I think because he treated everybody so well, God gave him the life he desired right down to the very end," Bill Nieman said. He said his mother, Hazel, will continue to help his older brother run his father's business. The family is holding a private funeral service today. You can reach reporter Karen Madden at 422-6729 or kmadden@wisconsinrapidstribune.com
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