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Seven Local Paramedic Scholarships

Five paramedic students and two emergency medical technician or EMT students were selected as “Christopher Meadows Memorial EMS Scholarship” recipients for 2017 following recent candidate interviews held Oct. 21 at Cuesta College.
Paramedic student awardees are: Mark Blattler from Cuesta College in SLO; and Nissa Guerrero, James Hoover, Carlos Mariquez, and Viet Vo from Foothill College in Los Altos, Calif.

EMT scholarship recipients are Jeffrey Patenaude and Cole Saunders, both from Cuesta College.

Student paramedics from three schools across a 5-county area applied for the $3,000 memorial scholarships, given out annually to Central California Emergency Medical Service or EMS workers pursuing education to become full paramedics.

The paramedic scholarship has now been awarded to 27 students over its 8-year existence.

“We continue to be impressed by the energy and commitment these individuals have for such a noble calling,” said Tim Meadows, Christopher Meadows’ father and interview committee member. “This year’s recipients exude an exceptional level of both passion and compassion, and they impressed us with their selfless desire to help others in their darkest hour.”

EMT students from SLO County applied for a $750 grant. The EMT course is the entry level in EMS training. This year’s awards bring the total EMT scholarship count to 10.

Among the scholarship winners is Mark Blattler, a Cal Poly graduate with a degree in forestry who attends the Cuesta College Paramedic Program. He is also working as an EMT for San Luis Ambulance. Blattler’s dream is to be a firefighter/paramedic in the SLO area and find other ways to give back to his community.

Nissa Guerrero is a 17-year EMT veteran and attends Foothill College’s Paramedic Program in Los Altos. She is active in training and teaching new EMTs. As a paramedic she will be able to deliver a higher level of patient care and hopes to continue to instruct others.

James Hoover of Foothill’s paramedic training program has been a seasonal lifeguard for the State Parks in Santa Cruz for the past 9 years. After 8-years as an EMT, Hoover seeks become a full-time firefighter/paramedic, and perhaps one day a flight medic.

Carlos Manriquez is the first in his family to attend college, and is a student at Foothill College. Manriquez grew up poor in Oakland and saw fist-hand the value of first responders like paramedics. He wants to return to his community and become a firefighter/paramedic.

Viet Vo, a Santa Clara native, graduated from San Jose State this year with a bachelor’s in public health and attends Foothill College paramedic program. Viet has been an EMT since 2009, and wants to work as a paramedic for at least 3 years before possibly pursuing a flight medic position with CALSTAR.

EMT Scholarship recipients were Jeffrey Patenaude, a graduate of Atascadero High School who volunteers as a firefighter with Cal Fire; and Cole Saunders, a Cal Poly graduate in business administration who works summers as a lifeguard for State Parks.

The Christopher Meadows Memorial EMS Education Fund was established by Taylor and Heather Tucker, co-workers with Meadows at San Luis Ambulance, after Meadows’ tragic death on May 24, 2009 while responding to an emergency in the Oceano Dunes.

Meadows was volunteering with the SLO Sheriffs Department’s Search and Rescue Unit. Christopher had planned to attend paramedic school in the fall of 2009, but never got the chance. The fund awards both paramedic and EMT scholarships to EMS students. In total, 37 scholarships have been awarded by the fund in its 8-year existence.

The fund is supported by numerous individual contributions as well as donations and sponsorships from: San Luis Ambulance, King David’s Masonic Lodge, Falck No. CA, SLO County Community Projects Fund, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, Dignity Health, Central Coast Emergency Physicians, CEP America, Cottage Health, The Tribune, KSBY, Delta Sigma Pi, SLO County Fire Benevolent Assn, Paso Robles Professional Firefighters, SLO County Sworn Deputy Sheriffs, Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Assn., and Sun Buggie Fun Rentals.

Also, next May 5 is the 9th Annual Christopher Meadows Memorial Wine Tasting & Silent Auction fundraiser from 3-6 p.m. at the Atascadero Lake. More information is available online at: www.meadowsscholarship.org.

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