(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – Terry Kolb, of Comanche, admits he has always cared about people and their well-being.
After spending the majority of his life in the construction industry, Kolb decided to help others in a different way. To show his young son what he can do if he puts his mind to it, Kolb enrolled in Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Technician program.
“Doing this job, there is a sense of accomplishment,” Kolb said. “I wanted to lead by example for my son, and I am doing it through this class.”
Kolb said he will not be through with his training once he completes his EMT certification.
“I plan to go all the way from paramedic to physician assistant,” he said. “I am ready to accept that challenge because this was meant to be.”
Another reason Kolb chose to change careers was because of what one paramedic told him.
“A paramedic said to me one time that he gets to look around, when he goes to restaurants and stores, and runs into people that are alive or have family members that are alive because of something that he did,” he said. “I want that sense of purpose and accomplishment. (First responders are) a staple of the community, and it takes a certain breed to be able to do it. I’m proud to be considered one of those people, and I look forward to seeing the lives that I change and save.”
While Kolb entered the program without any previous medical experience, he is relying on his uncle’s knowledge to help him outside of clinicals and the classroom.
“My uncle has been a paramedic for 20 years,” he said. “We went on vacation together this year, and I soaked up the knowledge from him that I can use on a daily basis.”
Kolb said learning the different terminology is demanding. But with his classmates a quick message away, he knows he will succeed.
“I love the challenge of this program,” he said. “If it was not challenging, then I would not be able to do it. We are always learning, and you will be doing that when you are in the field. There is no plateau to learning in this field.”
Kolb said having a low student-to-teacher ratio has helped him form many friendships at TSTC.
“We are a brotherhood. We want each of us to succeed,” he said.
That success begins by listening to instructor Tim Scalley.
“Tim is incredible. He has so much knowledge of the field,” Kolb said. “He has the patience with us when we ask the stupid questions. He wants to make sure we are successful.”
For Kolb, one of the hardest parts of going back to school was not spending as much time with his son.
“There is a definite balance to family life and going to school,” Kolb said. “We both have to adjust to this new balance. My son is proud of what I am doing, and he tells me that every day.”
Kolb already has a goal as a future first responder and is striving to accomplish it during clinicals.
“You have to have heart in this profession. I am the kind of person that is not going to give up on my patients,” he said. “I discovered early in life that you need to help people. I want to be there to help someone and lift them up. I want to be a person who can make a difference.”
Kolb knows the need for emergency medical technicians is growing in Texas. According to onetonline.org, Texas is forecast to see an 11% increase in these jobs by 2028.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.