Firefighter/ParamedicAustin Fire Department“After more than a decade in the restaurant business, I wanted something more for my life, a career that could benefit the community and one that my family and I could be proud of. A child of the ’70s, I was raised on TV’s ‘Emergency!’ and ‘CHiPs.’ The excitement of a career in public safety had allured me throughout most of my adult life. Several of the restaurants I worked at were in close proximity to fire stations, so I would watch the engine or ambulance roll by all the time and wonder what I was missing.
“I took every opportunity to chat with folks already in the field, and it quickly became apparent that the El Centro program was among the best in the country. I was blown away by the clinical contact I would receive during my education, not to mention the diverse strengths and backgrounds of the faculty. Unlike some of the smaller schools I had looked at, I would have access to Parkland Hospital, Children’s Medical Center and a fast-paced, high-volume rotation with Dallas Fire-Rescue.
“As I settled into the hectic life of attending paramedic school and working nights to support my family, I never once doubted that it would all be worth it. Becoming a paramedic forever changed the way I looked at the world and my fellow man and has added great meaning to my life. Attaining my certificate through the program at El Centro advanced my early career through instilling competence and an appreciation for the profession in a way few of the other institutions could.
“After gaining valuable field experience, I was blessed to be invited to participate in the program as an educator. EMS, like my former career in restaurants, demands a commitment to lifelong learning. The ability to draw from my own experiences as a paramedic in the classroom has provided yet another unforeseen and worthy venue to exercise the options this program has brought to my life.
“The El Centro Paramedic program has been recognized by all of my employers as one associated with skilled graduates who easily assimilate ‘book knowledge’ with practice in the ‘real world.’ Clearly, I would recommend this program to anyone who thinks they’ve got what it takes to make a difference in the world, one patient at a time.”
Firefighter/Paramedic Dave Williams was promoted to supervisor from EMT in his job with Greater Dallas EMS upon completing the El Centro Paramedic certificate program. He and his wife (a paramedic graduate from the program as well) spent six months volunteering as paramedics in several clinics throughout Mexico, Central and South America in 2003.He later served the Austin-Travis County EMS Department as a field medic and then as a rescue medic in the system’s Special Operations Division. Prior to his employment with the Austin Fire Department, he served as the EMS coordinator for the town of Highland Park Department of Public Safety.
As an Austin firefighter, he works as part of a tiered EMS system to provide emergency care to the ill and injured, working on a team to stabilize and prepare patients for transport by Austin-Travis County EMS.