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Western Colorado Community College serves the homeless

WCCC EMT students team up with Mesa Mall to create community connection

For the next two weekends WCCC EMT student Thomas Creel will join classmates and Mesa Mall to advocate for homeless people in the Grand Valley. The EMT class will collect winter clothing and sleeping bags, blankets and other textile necessities. The items will support those without a home who face cold temperatures inevitable during the weeks of winter.

"Community service is natural for our class because serving others is what becoming an EMT is all about," said Creel. "The Mesa Mall has been extraordinary in their generosity and we know that the community response will be strong in providing clothing to those in need."

The Emergency Medical Technician program at WCCC is among the college's growing offerings and is directed by EMS Program Director Pam Holder. Holder believes that community engagement is a critical part of training an effective EMT. 

"An EMT often provides services to those in the margins of the community whose lack of adequate housing increases their exposure, and as a result, increases their possible need for emergency services," said Holder. “This effort from our class helps us build a strong connection between first responders and their community. It also helps the students gain an empathetic view of the people they will be serving.”

The EMT students will be set up in Mesa Mall with an ambulance beginning on Friday, November 1, and will continue the following weekend too. While at the Mesa Mall, the students will not only collect donation items, they will also provide public service training for Mesa Mall patrons. The programming includes a number of sessions throughout the weekend. 

Healthy Living to a Healthier Heart
EMT students will disseminate information about what people can due to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Obstructed Airways / Chest Compressions 
WCCC volunteers will engage an interactive educational demonstration. Creel and his fellow classmates will demonstrate basic EMS practices on adult and infant training dummies. The demonstration will show how to clear air ways and how to perform proper chest compression.

Vital signs are something anyone with the right information can check on the site of an emergency. The class will establish proper techniques for checking someone's vital signs.

Vice President for Community College Affairs Brigitte Sundermann plans to visit the demonstration during the weekend. 

"I want the public to know that if they attend our demonstration, or donate to our students, they may decide themselves that being an EMT is a profession they wish to pursue," said Sundermann. "Who better than current EMT students to help others explore the possibility of joining the EMT program at WCCC."

Paul Petersen, Mesa Mall manager, also plans to stop by the WCCC demo and observe the student efforts. He explained that the Mesa Mall is not only a place of business and commerce, but serves as an important hub for creating community and serving the community.

"Throughout the year the Mesa Mall works with community partners to bring different volunteers into the building to use our space as a place for giving back. Projects like WCCC's and the students that accompany the effort are what truly makes my job rewarding," he said.

Community members interested in contributing are encouraged to visit the Mesa Mall beginning Friday, November 1.



Written by David Ludlam