Evan Knight ‘19 is now the third Saint in four years to ride with the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad. Following in the footsteps of Alec Hale ‘16 and Michael Hylton ‘18, Evan completed the five-month-long Virginia state Emergency Medical Technician certification course in July and passed the certification exam on his first attempt. He now rides with the squad “nightside” every eighth day, a shift that stretches from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“For me this all started a while back when I saw Michael at school with a bag full of medical gear and trauma stuff—I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” says Evan. “I thought to myself, ‘I need to do this.’”
Evan started shadowing the squad not long after, taking ride-along shifts before starting the EMT certification course this past spring. In addition to staying on top of his coursework at school, he spent every Tuesday and Thursday night in lectures that lasted late into the evening. The certification class also met two Saturdays a month to prepare trainees for real-life emergencies by having them respond to a number of different simulations.
“During our Saturday sessions we practiced responding to trauma like car accidents, dog bites, and stabbings, and to people experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pain, diabetic emergencies and overdoses,” says Evan. “They want us to be comfortable thinking on our feet and making decisions quickly.”
Now, as a certified member of the squad, Evan is putting that training to use in the field. He’s enjoying the camaraderie of his fellow squad members and learning from seasoned veterans. There is a lot of joking and storytelling, and a lot of shared meals at local restaurants. “Most of the time you’re hoping that you get your food before you get a call,” Evan jokes.
Once the shift ends early in the morning, Evan’s father, StC Middle School English teacher Alex Knight and his mother Emma, are often awake waiting to hear about his shift. “They wake up early because they’re eager to hear what kinds of things I’ve seen that night.” When asked about how his parents feel about his EMT work, Evan tells us that while they are very proud of him for it, they’re equally adamant that he care for himself and get the sleep he needs.
This summer Evan has also served as a lifeguard at a local pool and completed an internship in the pediatric emergency room at Virginia Commonwealth University’s MCV campus with Dr. Robin Foster. Dr. Foster, who is married to Dr. Jeff Haynes ‘78 and mother of Foster Haynes ‘11, guided Evan through five eight-hour shifts, giving him a real sense of what it’s like to provide emergency care for children and to communicate with their parents. “Most of the kids don’t really understand what’s going on, and it’s hard to predict how their parents will respond. The kids were always cute, but some of the parents were difficult to work with,” says Evan.
Evan has hopes for a career in medicine, but for now, at the start of his senior year, he’s focused getting as much life experience as possible through his work as an EMT. Evan explains, “Medical schools are always interested in kids who have life experience, but even if my interests change, I’ll be very happy I did this.”