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Students Balance School and Saving Lives

C.W. Post students who volunteer as firefighters and EMTs

Meghan Glynn

Imagine this: as you’re laying in bed sleeping, a pager suddenly clicks to life, a dispatcher’s voice comes over and relays information to you.  It’s the middle of the night and someone in your community needs your help.  Without thinking you get up and respond. Going to provide aid to whomever might need it.  When you clear from the call, you don’t get to go back to bed, it’s time to begin getting ready and go to classes for the day.  If you’re a student who also volunteers, this is a scenario that can become all too familiar.

For Angela Redmond, a Junior Psychology major at C.W. Post, this has been a situation she’s faced repeatedly, even before attending college.  “I’ve always wanted to help people,” Redmond said. “When I was 13 I began volunteering at Wantagh-Levittown Ambulance Corps and then also joined the Levittown Fire Department when I turned 18.”  Apart from attending Post as a part time student and volunteering for the Levittown community, Redmond also works full time with autistic children where she helps to teach them how to perform daily life skills.  She added that her training as an Emergency Medical Technician has helped her while working in this field, “Some of the kids have seizure disorders and because of my training I know how to care for them and make sure that they don’t further injure themselves.”

Derek Skuzenski, a Senior Criminal Justice major also volunteers for his local community along with attending classes.  A member of the Roslyn Fire Department, Skuzenski does it all, “I’m a firefighter, EMT, and EMS Lieutenant.”  While attending school full time and completing an internship with the Nassau County Probation Office, Derek is also expected to maintain a 20% average to remain a member of his volunteer department.  “I have to make 20% of calls, trainings, drills and fire school,” explained Skuzenski.  Derek has also taken the training provided to him by his volunteer agency and used it to help him professionally, working as an EMT for the C.W. Post campus.  Becoming certified as a New York State EMT is a certification that takes about 6 months of classes and is provided at no cost to members of volunteer agencies all throughout the state.

While Redmond and Skuzenski agree that the most difficult part about being both a student and a volunteer is finding a way to balance it all, they also agree that the sacrifice is worth it in the end.  To students wondering if they too could find the time to volunteer for their communities, Redmond added that, “There will always be rough times between school, work and other obligations, but never quit at what you want to do, when you overcome those obstacles you will feel that much better about yourself.”


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