MISSOULA — It's every college student's dream -- scholarship money.
One lucky group of paramedic students is receiving scholarships to help finish their programs and get out onto the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s a difficult time for first responders during the pandemic but one lucky group of trainees at Missoula College is receiving scholarship funds to help them progress along their path of becoming full-time EMTs.
“It’s huge. We are so appreciative of it and so excited for it. We really believe in this mission. EMT’s or paramedics are out in the field they are getting paid in their communities,” Missoula College Paramedic Program Director David McEvoy said. “They are on the front lines of everything that’s happening. We desperately need to train more people in this field.
One of those people is student Wil Aitchison.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to be the person that is called to take care of your family and your loved ones -- your friends,” he said. “So, being able to also now further that education and become a paramedic to help them further that’s great."
The scholarship money allows Aitchison to finish the program, but it also allows help him financially while he takes time off work to complete the program.
“Obviously, we are living in tough times. Any time you devote time to school instead of work that’s wage[s] lost,” Aitchison said. “We also live in a time where [the] price to wage gap is incredibly terrible. The cost of living is rising, so any bit helps."
When Aitchison isn't studying to become an EMT, he works for an EMT service. He says he's excited to continue his career and serve his community.
The scholarship money is donated by AT&T as a part of its AT&T Public Safety Hero Scholarship Fund.
It was also a historic day as some of the students are receiving some of the first-ever Associates of Applied Science degree from Missoula College.