NC EMT with learning disabilities works toward dream of becoming paramedic

GEMS EMT Andrew Molby says he has faced challenges due to dyslexia and dysgraphia but is on track to advance his career


Gavin Stewart
Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C.

GASTONIA, N.C. — Dealing with COVID-19 has accounted for about half of Andrew Molby's career at GEMS, but the pandemic reminds him why he chose to pursue a career in emergency medical services in the first place.

Molby became an EMT at GEMS in Nov. 2019. He was recognized as a GEMS Outstanding EMT during EMS Week 2020, which was May 17-23.

Andrew Molby, right, became an EMT for GEMS in Nov. 2019. Since then, he’s graduated from Gaston College and been recognized as one of GEMS’ Outstanding EMTs. (Photo/Gaston Gazette)
Andrew Molby, right, became an EMT for GEMS in Nov. 2019. Since then, he’s graduated from Gaston College and been recognized as one of GEMS’ Outstanding EMTs. (Photo/Gaston Gazette)

A lot of hard work got Molby where he is today. Early on in elementary school, Molby had a hard time spelling, writing and reading. His parents took notice and had Molby tested for learning disabilities.

"I have dyslexia and dysgraphia, so I was taken out of public school and I was home-schooled all the way through high school," Molby said. "I was struggling with a lot of stuff that I should have already been able to understand."

A career in emergency services intrigued Molby early on and stayed with him through high school. He became a Gaston County Police explorer in 2014 and later, following his interest in anatomy and medicine, became a GEMS explorer.

"I know I wanted to be out there to help people during times of emergency," Molby said. "I found that the EMS field is something that suited me really well because it combines the aspects of first responders responding to emergencies and also the material I like to learn about."

But he knew becoming a paramedic meant attending college. At the time, college seemed like a much more daunting trek than high school because Molby knew he'd have to work twice as hard as any other student.

Molby earned his associate in applied science from Gaston College earlier this month with nothing more than a little self-dedication paired with support from his teachers, who were happy to accommodate his learning disability.

"It makes it a lot easier when you have people there supporting you," Molby said.

Molby's on track to become a GEMS paramedic. Once he does, he'll have more responsibility during emergency situation. Paramedics can conduct IVs, intubations, cardioversions and more on patients.

Though Molby hasn't come into direct contact with COVID-19, putting himself at risk by working on the front lines of the pandemic reminds him of why EMS is the right career for him.

"One of the main reasons I chose the job is to help people in need," Molby said. "Anyway we can help potentially limit the spread or anything like that is good."

Pending an application, Molby looks forward to attending Western Carolina University online to study emergency medical care.

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©2020 Gaston Gazette, Gastonia, N.C.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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