Dr. William Fast ends a lifetime of service to the Boscobel community
Friday, April 28 marked the end of an era at Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics, with the retirement of Dr. William Fast.
After growing up in a small town in northwest Iowa, Dr. Fast received his medical degree from and completed his residency at the University of Minnesota. But his professional desire was to return to a rural community.
Dr. Fast explained that he first met Dr. C.E. Mueller in the Twin Cities, where a visit to Boscobel was arranged. Soon after, the practice sent a small airplane to fly Dr. and Mrs. Fast to Boscobel. "I had just begun learning to fly, so the fact that they sent a plane definitely impressed me. We quickly fell in love with the natural beauty of the area, and I would be able to continue my flying lessons," he continued. "It's so beautiful," Dr. Fast's wife, Ginger agreed, "And I had always lived along a river, something I could continue to do in Boscobel.
All in all, Ginger recalls four trips to the area before making the final decision. "It was a good opportunity and a good situation," Dr. Fast expounded. "I liked the way the business was run and the area reminded me of home. We grew fonder and fonder with each trip," Ginger recalls. "During these trips, Dr Mueller and his wife, Pat, graciously hosted our family and made us feel at home. They also started our interest in bird watching and feeding," said Dr. Fast.
So, in 1978, Dr. Fast began practicing at what is now Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics. He joined Drs. Mueller, Randall and McNamee in the practice. The Fast's bought property close to town from the then-hospital administrator, and Ginger's father built them the home they still occupy.
Their love of the area should be obvious, having now spent nearly 39 years here since they first fell in love with the scenic bluffs and river view. They raised their family here—three children: Cameron, Spencer and Michelle.
Over the many years, there have been many changes in the practice. Being able to delegate some of the business functions allowed Dr. Fast to focus more on the medical side, which he much prefers. He has been thankful to be surrounded by people, such as the longest-tenured Boscobel Clinic manager, Deb Randall. "In the beginning, we didn't have a clinic manager, and that has been a great help." Another change Dr. Fast cites is the vast increase in the amount of technology that is available.
As for the affiliation with Gundersen, Ginger calls it, "Wonderful," explaining that it has given Dr. Fast the time to focus on the things he enjoys most within the practice of medicine.
For the Fast family, it was truly a "family" practice, so it will be a "family" retirement as well. They will have time to visit their three adult children and eight grandchildren, as well as other friends and relatives. They will also take a much-deserved trip to Europe cruising down the Danube River.
"I have enjoyed my life. I have enjoyed my practice here. The community and people have been wonderful, and we intend to stay in the area for my retirement," states Dr. Fast. Ginger agrees, "We like it here and we have always loved the area. We are very comfortable. Boscobel has everything you want or need. There is the proximity of city life without living in a city."
Dr. Fast concluded, "I'd like to thank people. The patients have been good to me. They have given me a lifetime of joy, for which I am forever grateful."
That gratitude is reciprocated, as long tenures in the medical profession don't happen by accident. "In no way have we ever taken for granted the skill, continuity and longevity of the career Dr. Fast has provided this hospital and community with," said David Hartberg, Gundersen Boscobel CEO. "I am extremely honored to have called Dr. Fast a colleague and partner in the delivery of care to this community for these past 5 years."
If you see Dr. or Mrs. Fast, please be sure to extend your appreciation for their longstanding service to the Boscobel and surrounding communities. In a time when professionals don't often put down roots, the Fast family, and Dr. Fast in particular, have become a staple.
A reception for GBAHC staff to bid Dr. Fast farewell was held on Wednesday, April 26th. A community event is being planned for Tuesday, May 23rd. Details will follow as the date approaches.