COVID-19 relief funds help Ill. teens earn EMT certification
“You realize you’re the first line of defense for someone who is having the worst day of their life,” one teen said.
By Bill Carey
FULTON COUNTY, Ill. — Two Fulton County teenagers are becoming EMTs and earning college credits before they graduate high school, thanks to COVID-10 relief funds.
Maddie Helle and Taylor Tinsman have not gotten their high school diploma, but they are already one step away from becoming EMTs. They took dual credit courses at Spoon River College, learning how to provide emergency medical care while finishing high school courses. Leftover COVID-19 funds covered the cost for all dual credit high school students this year at an estimated $450,000 value, 25 News Now reported.
“I wanted a foundation to build upon and I wanted to help my community,” Helle said. “So, I know that once I take the licensure exam, I can take a job in the area and work for the summer.”
“Really being out in the community really humbles you,” Tinsman said. “You realize you’re the first line of defense for someone who is having the worst day of their life.”
Helle and Tinsman attended two five-hour classes a week as well as going to school daily. They also had to get at least 36 hours of ride-along with first responders in the field. Both went above the 36-hour requirement. They would take 12-hour shifts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to shadow EMTs during their work.
Helle plans to study nursing this fall at Illinois State University. Tinsman wants to continue her education and become a doctor.