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EMS Majors ‘Let’s Do This’

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
EMS Students Image

Jessica Gordon and fellow EMS student Michael Peck are ready to distribute donations at one of the Aid the Homeless events.

Truckee Meadows Community College Emergency Medical Services (EMS) students contribute more than 4,000 volunteer hours in the community each year—and they are inviting residents of Northern Nevada to participate in some of their holiday-time events happening in December.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic and Advanced students perform 12 hours of volunteerism each semester, and Paramedic students contribute 48 hours a year. With three Basic classes, two Advanced classes, and one Paramedic class—typically about 25–30 in each class—more than 4,200 hours each year are being contributed to the community.

All of the various community engagement projects are posted on a bulletin board in the William N. Pennington Health Science Center for students to choose from, and to start exploring the causes that most inspire them.

The EMT and Paramedic trainees contribute to community service projects begun by firefighting departments and other community protection organizations, or the students initiate their own community engagement projects.

Pay it Forward Program—Aid the Homeless

“Aid the Homeless is a program our students created,” said Mike Schulz, EMS Instructor.

In this program, the EMT students pick event days to go out into the field in teams of about two-to-seven or more, meeting people who are homeless and offering them items to help with comfort and warmth; such as gloves, socks, and food items like granola bars.

Students gather donations of money and winter clothes from acquaintances, friends and family. In the morning of an event, they put together care packages, and then hand them out in the downtown Reno area for about four hours, typically on a Saturday. Their latest Aid the Homeless event day was Dec. 2.

“This is a great opportunity for students to give back and help members of our community,” said Jessica Gordon, Class President of EMT Advanced.

Reno Fire Department Children’s Christmas Party

The Reno Fire Department, with the help of Silver Legacy Resort Casino, is sponsoring its yearly Children’s Christmas Party for kids in need, six-to-12 years old. Children are pre-selected for the celebration by Washoe County Social Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pathfinders Ministry, and the Family Shelter. The children will enjoy activities and treats, including the chance to make Christmas ornaments, play games with mentors, have a picture taken with Santa, and receive a special present in the Toy Room.

  • When: Sunday, Dec. 17, Noon–3 p.m.
  • Where: Reno Ballroom, 401 N. Center St., in Reno

Representatives from all of the EMT and Paramedic classes are participating in this holiday event.

“We’re assisting with the manpower; we show up and ask where we can be of assistance,” Gordon said.

Community members who would like to donate new or gently used unwrapped clothing and toys, or make a monetary donation may contribute at either the Reno Fire Administration offices at City Hall, 1 E. First St., fourth floor, Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., or at any Reno Fire Station.

Canned Food Drive

Every year during the holidays, TMCC partners with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and the KTVN Channel 2 Share Your Christmas Food Drive to collect nonperishable food in bins that are distributed at campus sites.

“One student, Colton Story, saw that the Food Drive bin was nearly empty, so he set a goal to make the bin overflow by Tuesday, Dec. 5,” Schulz said. “He put a notice on Canvas to the class to bring in non-perishables.”

Schulz said that it’s inspiring to see the students so in-tune with people in need.

“It’s efforts like this, self-initiation, that shows what it’s all about—that he noticed something like that,” Schulz said. “I’m confident we’ll have no problem to meet and exceed the goal.”

The EMS Program has also recruited the TMCC Fire Academy students to help with the Food Drive.

The event finale is hosted by KTVN Channel 2, and takes place at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino on Friday, Dec. 8, from 6 a.m.–6 p.m.

Toys for Tots

“Students many times set up and organize some of our community engagement projects, assisting programs already in place such as Toys for Tots, and then open the door for other people to join,” Gordon said.

EMS students will help the U.S. Marine Corps with the Toys for Tots Carson City toy drive. They will assist with receiving donations, and with warehousing. The drive benefits children in Carson City, Douglas, Storey, and West Lyon Counties.

  • When: Sunday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
  • Where: Walmart, 3200 Market St., in (north) Carson City

“We’ve set two days aside; one for donation collection, and then one for sorting, wrapping or distributing,” she said.

The second event day for the students will be on Dec. 16 at the Toys for Tots Warehouse.

Earlier Fall Events: Operation Appreciation

Jasmine Perry, Class Secretary of EMT Advanced organized an event to benefit her husband and the fellow soldiers serving in his unit stationed overseas.

“I held a community service event at the Summit Mall for troops deployed in Afghanistan,” she said. “We put donations of anything they needed; socks, canned food, shaving cream, beef jerky, candy, footballs, and other items. We packed 33 boxes, one for each person in his unit.”

Employees from the Mall spontaneously joined the students at the event on Sept. 23.

“The day we put it together, there were people from the Summit Mall that came and helped from about 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.,” Perry said. “In addition to the supplies, the money that was donated was used to ship the boxes U.S.P.S. The Postal Service also gave us a good rate.”

EMS Students Honor Their Commitments

“In every class, there is a president, vice president, secretary, community engagement officer, squad leader, and assistant squad leader, and they make sure everyone is taking part in the events and whatever is planned for the day,” Schulz said.

For more information about the TMCC EMS programs, or to contribute to the charitable drives, please call 775-850-8905.