Student Highlight – Alexis Grace
After completing the Landmark Learning EMT-Intensive course in the fall of 2016, I went to volunteer with All Hands and Hearts when they came to Gatlinburg, TN, to help out after the forest fires there. Since then, I have had the opportunity to travel around the U.S. and the world working in communities affected by natural disasters. AHAH is an international Nongovernmental Organization that works to help communities rebuild after they have experienced floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. Once they open a program, volunteers from around the world travel there to rebuild homes and schools.
These volunteers arrive with a variety of skills and experiences (and sometimes no construction experience at all) and are given free housing, meals, and training while they volunteer. This method allows real, personal connections with the local community members and fellow volunteers. Because AHAH programs are typically located in remote, hard to reach areas, I have been able to use my wilderness medicine skills while serving as a volunteer. My most recent work has been in rural Nepal, where communities are still rebuilding after the 2015 earthquakes. Here, with the nearest hospital 2 hours away on a bumpy dirt road, I put my wilderness medical training to the test, helping out with anything from minor lacerations, more serious incidents involving a 7-hour evacuation and then a midnight ambulance ride to Kathmandu.
The training I received helped me remain calm and confident in the face of uncertain and sometimes intimidating situations. If you are looking to help others, don’t mind sleeping in a tent, would like to travel to Nepal, Mozambique, Texas, or the Bahamas, and want to maybe put your wilderness medicine skills (of any level) to good use, check out All Hands and Hearts at www.handsandhearts.org.
Alexis Grace, WEMT