Meet Kayla Schaefer and Savea Hull.
Compassionate. Driven. They are literally saving lives.
Kayla Schaefer ’19 and Savea Hull ’19 – both seniors double majoring in biology and chemistry – are getting a jump start on their medical careers while volunteering to literally save lives. The two earned their national certifications as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) this year and returned to Graceland this fall with the desire to serve in the volunteer Lamoni Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
Lamoni EMS is a volunteer, non-transport rescue service provided by the City of Lamoni. The service responds to about 250 911 calls per year and provides medical coverage for local youth football games, rodeos and other special events. Due to Lamoni’s proximity to Interstate 35, Lamoni EMS also treats people from all over the country.
“Lamoni EMS fills a critical need to protect the citizens and visitors of the region,” said Lamoni Mayor Doug Foster, who is also an adjunct professor for Graceland. “When a 911 call is received, an ambulance is immediately dispatched from the Decatur County Hospital in Leon – about 14 miles away. It usually takes the ambulance 14 to 15 minutes to arrive at an emergency scene here in Lamoni. Those minutes are often critical in assessing and providing immediate treatment, and that is the principle role of Lamoni EMS.”
Kayla and Savea have just gotten their start with Lamoni EMS but already know they love it and have learned a lot. And while it is not directly related to their Graceland experience, they have definitely felt the support of their Graceland faculty.
Professor of Biology Teri Foster has been excited and supportive of Kayla and Savea’s interest in working with Lamoni EMS from the beginning. And, according to both students, Professor of Chemistry Dan Pratt would often go out of his way to ask how their EMT classes were going and, according to Kayla, was the one who suggested she sign up for Lamoni EMS.
“There is no question that both Savea and Kayla share one thing in common – that is the desire to give something back,” shared Pratt. “From the onset, they have both been energetic dynamos that are very big hearted. Becoming emergency medical techs is just another step in their evolution of giving back, and, as seniors majoring in biology and chemistry, I can’t wait to see where their futures lead.”
“I think the community is a big part of Graceland and how impactful it can be,” shared Kayla. She now goes to local football games as an EMT and gets recognized and greeted in Lamoni by people she would have never met otherwise.
Savea eventually wants to become an OB-GYN and deliver babies. She got her first experience with it this summer during her clinical training when the ambulance she was riding in with a woman in labor had to pull over in order to deliver twins. For now, though, she plans to move to Colorado after graduation in May and work toward her paramedic license ahead of applying for medical school.
“Ever since I was two years old, I knew that I wanted to be an obstetrician, and everything I have done since has been building to achieve this dream,” explained Savea. “When I was 16, I became a lifeguard so I could start small by impacting a local pool with my CPR skills. My junior year of high school, I received my CNA license and immediately began working in a nursing home – where I have had the pleasure of positively impacting the lives around me. I chose to volunteer for Lamoni EMS because I really value the work that an EMT does. Also, the volunteer opportunity that Lamoni EMS offers fits perfectly with my busy schedule while allowing me to continue making a difference and giving back to the community.”
Kayla will also graduate in May. She isn’t certain of the exact path she’d like to take but knows she will work toward medical school in the pursuit to become a doctor. She recognizes the impact she can make – both now as an EMT and later as a doctor – and is drawn to medicine because of what she describes as the vulnerability that takes place between a doctor and a patient.
“As a doctor, I will be facing raw emotion and vulnerability daily, and will have the opportunity to show the utmost consideration and respect. That in itself is magical to me,” shared Kayla. “When I think of changing the world, it’s the seemingly small everyday tasks that ultimately change an individual’s world, which then have a ripple effect into the larger world. So, my goal is to touch and change as many individual worlds as possible.”
Other Graceland students have also joined Lamoni EMS over the years. Weston Heinz ’13 and Daniel Vogelsang ’13 served as students, and Karl Bradford ‘17 still serves and works as a professional EMT for Decatur County Hospital. The experience they gain through real life, real-time medical emergencies greatly prepares them for future careers in any medical field, and the amount of heart these students put into that experience definitely supports the university’s mission: that Graceland – along with the Lamoni community, in this case – creates learning communities in which students reach their potential for meaningful and productive lives.