Some Harwood students approach the HU Next Step office and ask them for help in finding an internship opportunity. For Walker Caffry Randall, a recent HU graduate from Waitsfield, it was a different route. Walker had become interested in first aid through many years as a Boy Scout. At the beginning of his sophomore year at HUHS he applied to become a member of the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service (MRVAS) and began the emergency medical responder (EMR) course. HU’s Rachel Potts caught wind of his volunteer efforts and told him he could get internship credit for it. Walker averages over 80 hours on shift and typically attends an additional 10 to 12 hours of training per month. Having an internship credit allowed him to take one less academic class per year which definitely helped offset the time commitment.
Walker loves the variety of calls and the opportunity to help his neighbors that he has as an EMR. He also enjoys the other roles he has been able to serve within MRVAS including being the chairperson of the Emerging Technology Committee, working on publicity, recruiting and fundraising.
Walker’s favorite thing has been learning the necessary skills that enable him to go out into the community and really make a difference in people’s lives. He has been surprised by the tremendous variety of calls that MRVAS gets. Going into it he expected car accidents, ski injuries and cardiac events, but he has been on more types of calls than he ever could have imagined. Walker loved science classes at Harwood, especially biology, AP biology and forensic science. Walker found that he brought a lot to the table in class discussions because of his hands-on understanding of human anatomy and physiology he has gained as an EMR.
Richard Lord, MRVAS president, said, “Having students from Harwood offers a fresh and interesting perspective to the future of volunteerism that is extremely important to our all-volunteer service.” Lord “finds Walker to be a serious, driven, intelligent individual who has an unbelievable sense of service to others.” Lord further reported that Walker “operates with empathy, compassion and selflessness at a level I have seldom observed in a young man of his age. Walker will fearlessly first respond to the most difficult of emergency calls exhibiting confidence and skill that immediately diffuses a difficult situation and puts people at ease; and he responds a lot.”
Walker said he recommends internships for other HU students and also job shadowing and meeting with experts in fields of interest too. Walker spent a whole day with Dr. Liam Gannon in the ER at Copley Hospital and had a really interesting meeting with Neil Van Dyke, the search and rescue coordinator for the Vermont Department of Public Safety. It was because of that meeting and his internship as an EMR with MRVAS that Walker was confident that he wanted to pursue the Emergency Medical Services Management program at Springfield College along with a double major in biology. He plans to work as a paramedic when he first graduates and then possibly go on to grad school.
To learn more about internship opportunities available to HU students, students, parents and potential community partners are invited to contact Ellen Berrings and Rachel Potts at Harwood Union High School.