As he finishes his final semester at Hamilton remotely before starting as a software engineer at J.P. Morgan, computer science major Chris Browne is volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and a volunteer firefighter in his community. “The average age of the other EMTs in the township is high so I respond to all the COVID-19 calls. It’s safer for me than anyone else,” Browne said.
Certified at 16 as an EMT and later becoming a volunteer firefighter, Browne was influenced by his father’s example, having watched him go out on fire calls as a volunteer. “Harding Township [Browne’s home in New Jersey] is a volunteer-oriented community,” Browne observed.
Since returning home, he has now been on two calls in which the cases were confirmed as COVID-19. “Before, I just saw it on the news. It becomes much more real when I am the one with the plastic shield on my face looking at someone who is struggling to breathe. It’s a serious moment,” he said. So far, there have been no serious fire calls to which he has responded.
A member of Hamilton’s men’s hockey team, Browne compared the work of the first aid squad to that of his teammates on the ice. “It’s definitely similar in that we are so relying on others and trusting them and knowing you have the training to do what you do to reach the same goals.” Currently, another team member from Toronto, Nick Ursitti, is staying with the Brownes until he can apply for his visa extension.
Browne’s job with J.P. Morgan will take him to Manhattan, but he still plans to keep his EMT certification active and pursue opportunities on weekends. He’s joined the EMTs at Hamilton his junior year and served as a first-year residential advisor.
Honor Allen ’21, another Hamilton EMT, has registered as an EMT with the Illinois Department of Public Health’s volunteer network but has yet to receive an assignment.