Dare County EMS celebrates graduation of seven paramedics from COA program

Graduates pictured from left to right. Front row: Tyler Roberts, Codie Patterson and Jesse Moore. Back row: Toby Paz, Cara Hanrahan, Matthew Stankavich and Ian Dudek. (Dare County)

Dare County EMS celebrated seven employees who recently graduated from College of The Albemarle’s (COA) Advanced EMT to Paramedic program, an accelerated internal paramedic academy created by Dare County EMS and COA for existing staff in the agency that wanted to advance their EMS credential level.

The ceremony—which was held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at the Dare County Administration Building in Manteo—celebrated the graduation of Ian Dudek, Cara Hanrahan, Jesse Moore, Codie Patterson, Toby Paz, Tyler Roberts and Matthew Stankavich.

Image of a crowd of people gathered in the Board of Commissioners meeting room listing to Chairman Woodard speak.
Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard speaking during the graduation ceremony.

Throughout North Carolina, incumbent personnel affiliated with any public safety agency (EMS, fire department or law enforcement) can attend a North Carolina community college and advance their professional credentials as a fee-exempt student. Normally, an Advanced EMT wanting to become a paramedic would need to attend a 12-month-long program outside of their 53-hour/week work schedule.  This accelerated internal program supported personnel to take these classes and perform clinical rotations as part of their work schedule, achieving a better work/life balance and also achieving success in a condensed time period. These new paramedics will fill existing vacancies in their own departments, which are difficult to fill by external hiring only.

Students were enrolled in the paramedic academy from October 2, 2023 through May 15, 2024. The program consisted of greater than 1,000 hours of time invested by the students over the last seven months, which included weekly lectures and labs, hospital clinical time, field time with designated paramedic preceptors, and countless hours of studying and homework to prepare for exams—all while the students continued to work modified public safety schedules to serve their communities.

Image of Chief Jennie Collins speaking at the podium.
Dare County EMS Director Chief Jennie Collins speaking during the graduation ceremony.

“Paramedics are vital to our communities as they are able to provide advanced life support and life-saving therapies to the sick and injured, which is the standard of care in communities such as ours,” said Dare County EMS Director Chief Jennie Collins. “Dare County EMS is extremely proud of our graduates and thankful for their continued service and dedication to our community. Congratulations to Dare County’s newest paramedic graduates!”

The Dare County EMS employees who successfully completed College of The Albemarle’s (COA) Advanced EMT to Paramedic program were presented with certificates from COA Emergency Medical Science Assistant Professor/Program Coordinator Walter Meads and Dare County EMS Lieutenant Josh McKenney.