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Local Somerset-Pulaski County EMS Employees Complete College Degree at SCC

Eubank+CampbellSteven Eubank and Robert Campbell are two local emergency medical services (EMS) employees who have always had a heart for helping others. But in dedicating their lives to assisting other people, both Eubank and Campbell nearly forgot to pursue their own aspirations of getting a college degree until the Paramedic Program at Somerset Community College offered them that chance.

Eubank, currently the Major of Operations at Somerset-Pulaski EMS, was working as a volunteer firefighter in 1992 when he drove upon a wreck. One of those people involved in the accident was his sister.

I didn't know what to do, said Eubank, of Somerset. I decided then that I wanted to become trained in order to be able to help others when they need it.

Eubanks sister was fine after the accident, but he still went on to become a volunteer emergency medicine technician (EMT) and then pursued the chance to become a paramedic in 2005 while working in Pulaski County. Now, he can add college graduate to his list of accomplishments, having graduated from SCC in December with his associates degree.

Robert Campbell, a 35-year-old resident of Casey County, had a similar route to his college degree. Upon graduating from high school, Campbell started working as a laborer at Norris amp; New Funeral Home. He also served as a volunteer on the local rescue squad, trying hard to attend regular fire and rescue classes. He enjoyed his work and had a passion for helping those in need and was soon accepted into the EMT class. Due to costs, though, Campbell wasn't going to be able to attend.

At work that day I was talking about it (the EMT program). That evening my boss, Mark New, gave me a bonus for working hard and it was exactly what I needed to pay for my class to attend. That's what put me on my path in emergency medical services in 1998, said Campbell.

Campbell received his EMT certification and went on to complete paramedic training in 2005. Since then, he has instructed, or assisted with, more than 25 EMT and five paramedic classes. Currently a Captain Paramedic at Somerset-Pulaski County EMS, Campbell also works part-time at Casey County EMS, is a volunteer firefighter at Nancy Volunteer Fire Department and works as a preceptor, or trainer, for Somerset Community College.

Both men said they are proud of what they've accomplished in the professional careers. Adding a college degree is icing on the cake.

I never thought Id get the opportunity to go to college, said Campbell. I was told I couldn't do it when I was young. Ive always been in the business of proving people wrong.

Our profession is one in which we have to consistently learn due to changing needs, regulations and practices, said Eubank. We were both used to that aspect of college, but we soon realized how much the allied health administrative classes, as well as speaking and writing classes, were beneficial to our careers.

Eubank has two children, ages 8 and 10. Going back to school was important to him, he said, because he wanted to set an example.

I took them to see the college with me, Eubank said. Once they see you start; you have to finish. You have to prove it is worth it.

Eubank and Campbell can both retire soon. Neither of them know for sure what is next for them. Perhaps a bachelors degree or more teaching will follow once they retire. Most certainly, though, both men will continue to impact the lives of others through their service.

I have seen many things in my years of EMS, I have seen people at their worst, I have cried with them, prayed with them, and held their hand as they took their last breath. I have also had the privilege of holding a new born baby in my arms and hearing their first cry it will bring tears to your eyes, said Campbell. After all these years, after all the holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries I have missed, I wouldn't trade it because through all the heartache, the good and the bad, I feel that I have a purpose and each experience has made me who I am today.

The Paramedic Program at Somerset Community College offers an EMS-Paramedic Certificate and an EMS-Paramedic AAS Degree, which is the path taken by Eubank and Campbell. To find out more, contact Tracey Franklin, program coordinator, at (606) 387-3718 or tracey.franklin@kctcs.edu.

Photo: (L-R) Steven Eubank and Robert Campbell