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MTCC EMT/Paramedic Program Training The Best Samaritans

When Marvin Hancock rose to speak to the latest group of Emergency Medical Services graduates at McDowell Technical Community College, he began by telling the graduates and their family and friends that he wanted to share with them the first known written account of an emergency medical worker—“At least as far as I’m aware,” he said.

Hancock then proceeded to read to them the parable of the Good Samaritan from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament. After he finished, he wove a series of comparisons of the work of modern-day EMT’s (emergency medical technicians) and Paramedics with the life-saving care provided by the Good Samaritan to the injured Jew in the story, someone who should have been his natural enemy; Jews and Samaritans in biblical times hated and despised each other.

MTCC EMT/Paramedic Program Training The Best Samaritans

As an emergency services worker, Hancock said, the graduates had chosen a life of compassionate service, not unlike the Good Samaritan, rendering aid and comfort to people whom they may not like, whose actions and behavior they might not approve of, or who may not seem deserving of their care. Having taught these graduates, Hancock spoke confidently of the graduates’ ability to provide exceptional and dispassionate care when called upon.

Hancock also challenged the graduates to stay abreast of changes in the emergency medical world and gave multiple examples of major changes in technology and standards of care just since he began working in the field. He acknowledged that he was a bit of a nerd or geek himself, constantly reading to stay updated on new procedures and technological advances, but noted the necessity of doing so, and encouraged them to share their knowledge with new generations of emergency medical graduates who would follow in their own footsteps.

Altogether 8 students completed the required 288 hours of EMT training at McDowell Tech this year, either this fall or earlier this past spring. Another 7 students completed a 4-semester program or one-year accelerated program of 1150 hours of paramedic training, in addition to the 288-hour EMT training that is pre-requisite to entering the paramedic program. In addition to traditional classroom and field training, these graduates each had to run required “scenarios” with Dr. Edward St. Bernard, who is Medical Director for McDowell EMS, to prove their competence to provide required care in the field.

Mr Hancock behind a lectern

After completing state exams, the new graduates also have the option to pursue National Registration in their respective areas. Those who want to complete a curriculum-level degree also have the option to enter the college’s Bridge Program, where they will be given credit for prior EMT and Paramedic training.

A new cohort of EMT students will enter emergency services training on January 5th, and a new paramedic class will begin next August. For now, tuition remains free through the college’s Learn and Grow Scholarship program.

“We are exceptionally proud of these graduates and their decision to become modern day Samaritans,” said Dr. Brian S. Merritt, MTCC President. “As several of our instructors indicated during our graduation ceremony, McDowell Tech’s rigorous program in Emergency Medical Services is exceptional and is head-and-shoulders above similar programs from across the nation and world. McDowell Emergency Medical Services personnel, with whom we partner for our training, has been recognized over and over for their innovation and high-quality care. We know that we aren’t just training Good Samaritans; we are training the Best Samaritans, and we beam with pride every day when they prove themselves worthy of the moniker.”

To register for the next EMT/Paramedic cohort, visit

2021/2022 Paramedic Graduates:

Michael Andrew Banks

Samantha Elizabeth Ellis

Kelly Jenee Miller

Megan Zeigler


2022 Accelerated Graduates:

Cassin Michael Mullenix

Colton Ervin Self

Edward Chantz Self


Spring 2022 EMT Graduates:

Phillip Doyle Finley

Max Neil Ledbetter

Aric Maddox Moussette

Audra Beth Pittman

Kelsie Danielle Riddle

Cynthia Machele Williams


Fall 2022 Graduates:

Mary Renee Banner

Courtney Mulllins



Julie Padgett Buchanan

Keeping the Faith

A sweet and loving child of God returned to her heavenly father in the still and quiet of a bitterly-cold January morning earlier this week. Julie Buchanan, better known to most of her McDowell Tech family as Julie Padgett, ended her battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, on Wednesday, just a little more than 21 months after she was officially diagnosed with the disease.

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