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Members Advance Their Careers through NAEMT Scholarships

Nov 15, 2012

NAEMT congratulates our most recent scholarship recipients:

EMT-Basic to EMT-Paramedic ($5,000 each) - Kevin Rixmann, Osceola, Wis., and Christopher Cox, Raytown, Mo.

Paramedic EMS Education Advancement ($2,000) - Peter Frenchak, Butler, Penn.

Degree completion program offered by The College Network ($2,500) - Jeff McCommon, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Rixmann works full time as an EMT-Intermediate at Western Wisconsin EMS Co., River Falls Area Ambulance Service, and Osceola Area Ambulance Service, and also works as an ER technician at Osceola Medical Center. He is attending school at Emergency Training Associates in Fergus Falls, Minn., to advance to a flight critical care paramedic. “I enjoy taking care of highly acute and very sick patients, and think that this would be an area of the EMS industry that would allow me to do so,” he says. “This scholarship will considerably reduce the burden of expenses so I can further my education. Not only will this scholarship allow me to better my knowledge but it will also put me in a position where I can focus on my studies and give 110%. I want to be the best paramedic possible, so I can better serve the communities in which I work.” Rixmann says his interest in EMS began his sophomore year of high school, when he was able to volunteer as an 'ambulance explorer,' responding with the ambulance crew to every 911 call, observing their practices and assisting with restocking, cleaning and truck maintenance.

In addition to completing his EMS courses, Rixmann has earned a Bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry, with a biomedical emphasis. “The courses I took in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, virology, immunology, and microbiology allow me to more closely evaluate each patient I care for on the ambulance. I look at a patient's current condition from a different perspective and often try to understand the underlying metabolic and cellular changes that cause the presenting symptoms.” He believes that being a lifelong learner is one of the most important characteristics of anyone involved in EMS, and says it is one of his strongest traits.

Cox has worked for nine years as a firefighter and EMT-Basic with the City of Gladstone (Mo.) Fire Department. He is attending paramedic school at MCC/Penn Valley in Kansas City, Mo. He says that Gladstone is recognized as a leader in the Kansas City area for its progressive look at emergency medicine and unwavering commitment to care without charge to the patient. “This dedication for doing 'what is best for the patient' is what has inspired me to pursue a more involved role within the department,” Cox says. “Earning my paramedic license has been a life goal of mine since a
young age. I have always wanted to be of greater service to my community.” He is the father of four and his wife has recently become unemployed, so the NAEMT scholarship will help ease some of the financial burden on his family, he says. He has always worked two or three jobs to provide for his children, and he says that they have expressed a great deal of pride in the fact that their father is returning to school, and that he has tried to serve as a good example by maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA.

“Your scholarship will help make my aspirations of completing school a reality by offsetting a portion of those expenses. Dedicating myself to school is not a decision I have undertaken lightly. I learned early in my life the value of seeing a goal through to the end by earning my Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America at the age of 13. This same motivation and strong work ethic will carry me through the difficult but worthwhile effort to become a paramedic,” Cox says. He is a third generation firefighter and says he is aware of the direction in which the fire service is growing, with continually increasing responsibilities in emergency medicine. “I look to help lead the way,” Cox says.

Frenchak is a paramedic with STAT MedEvac in West Mifflin, Penn. He is earning his Bachelor of Science in Public Administration with a concentration in EMS Administration at Point Park University, Pittsburgh. “My EMS career has taken me through ground EMS, flight medicine, and EMS instruction positions,” he says. “EMS is my passion and something I desire to be a leader in. I believe in core principles that include excellence in patient care, provider safety, and professional conduct of providers. I know that moving into the future, strong drive and patient care ability will only go so far. Education, experience, and vision will be what take my career and the EMS industry as a whole into the future.” After earning his Bachelor's degree, Frenchak is looking to complete a Master's degree in Public Health, with an end goal of serving as an administrator for a progressive EMS agency, flight program, or advocacy organization.

Frenchak says the NAEMT scholarship is of crucial benefit, as he is a working student who has the responsibility of caring for a family with three children. “In this economic time, every dollar brought into our household budget goes to the running of our household. As most students, I am reliant on financial aid of any type that may be available to help defer costs associated with my pursuit of success. I am grateful for any assistance from NAEMT to help me attain my goals. I am very appreciative to even be considered for a scholarship by my fellow members of NAEMT.”

McCommon is a paramedic with the Chattanooga Fire Department and is enrolled with The College Network to earn a RN degree. He has worked as a firefighter since 2007. “I was trained to EMT-IV by the Chattanooga Fire Department because I 'had' to, but since that time, I have fallen in love with medicine both in and out-of-hospital,” he says. He completed his education as a paramedic at Chattanooga State TCC last year.

McCommon supports six children ages 6 - 12, one with disabilities. “A scholarship to help with the cost of education goes a long way towards easing the financial strain on my family,” he says. “I have always believed in helping those who help themselves. It is in the character of this belief that I humbly applied for this scholarship.”

The deadline for the next Degree Completion scholarship through The College Network is December 15. NAEMT members may learn more about scholarships and complete an application here. You'll need to log in as an NAEMT member to access the page.