Firefighters fundraise for Ethan Stadler Memorial Scholarship
ASHLAND – Ethan Stadler was an introvert, but when he arrived at a scene as a firefighter and paramedic, his demeanor transformed. He showed up as a calm and confident leader, fueled by a strong sense of duty and a passion for service.
“He wanted to help people, but he wouldn’t just walk up to somebody and say, ‘Hey, are you okay?’” said Ethan’s father, Eric Stadler. “This job was perfect for him, because people would call and say they needed help, and he would come.”
Before the October 2022 motorcycle crash that resulted in his death, Ethan was EMS Captain for Polk Jackson Perry Fire District, where he was named EMT of the year in 2021. He also served as a member of the Jeromesville Community Fire District and Green-Perrysville Joint Fire District.
Ethan seized every training opportunity he had, his parents said, and he was a confidant and encourager for fellow firefighters and EMTs when they struggled to get through a tough training.
Now, Ethan’s dedication to emergency response training and his passion for serving his community will live on through a memorial scholarship fund at Ashland County Community Foundation. Each year, the Ethan Stadler Memorial Firefighter/EMT Scholarship will be awarded to help a local resident pursue fire or EMS training.
The fund was started by Ethan’s fellow firefighters at Polk Jackson Perry Fire District, with support from the Stadler family.
“We (at the Polk Jackson Perry Fire District) held a benefit pancake breakfast soon after Ethan's passing to raise money for the family to help with funeral expenses, and we had an overwhelming response from the community,” said Polk Jackson Perry Fire District Lieutenant Enos Miller. “The three Fire departments that he served on paid for his casket, and the plan was to give the rest of the money raised to the Stadler family.”
When the idea of a scholarship fund in Ethan’s memory was raised, the family chose to donate more than $6,000 that remained from the benefit to help create the scholarship.
To ensure the fund can sustain a $500 annual scholarship in perpetuity, the firefighters aim to raise an additional $8,345, with the community’s support.
Ethan’s mother, LeAnn Stadler, said all three fire departments were amazing throughout the funeral process, and the ongoing community support has been overwhelming.
The scholarship will be especially meaningful for the family as they continue to grieve, she said.
“What is really great about this is, when you lose your child, you don’t just lose your child for that time that you’ve had them,” she said. “You also lose the future—everything that had been planned, and all the dreams and desires they had. Now, we can see other people pursue dreams in his honor and in his memory. It’s a way of allowing him to continue on, in spite of the fact that he’s no longer with us.”
Contributions of any size may be added to the fund by anyone at any time.
To donate online, visit www.ashlandforgood.org, click "Donate," and search for Ethan Stadler MemorialFirefighter/EMT Scholarship Fund. Donations can also be made by mailing a check payable to Ashland County Community Foundation with “Ethan Stadler Memorial Firefighter/EMT Scholarship Fund” on the memo line to 300 College Ave. Ashland, OH 44805.