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Paramedics student wins U.S. award

November 11, 2002|BY PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Her adrenaline, composure and professional attitude helped Amanda Hinkle through one of her toughest ambulance calls when three of her classmates and friends were seriously burned while making flambe at Washington County Technical High School.

She helped them off the ambulance and tried to calm the two victims who were less seriously burned, but after her job was finished she said, "I cried. I cried a lot."

Hinkle, 18, a Hagerstown Community College paramedics student and 2002 Technical High School graduate, received the outstanding Health Occupation Students of America award last summer.

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"I always volunteered for extra," Hinkle said at the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway where she interned during high school and now is a volunteer. "I always had my book full."

Hinkle said that, at first, she wasn't sure she deserved earning a national award for a career she had been planning since age 5.

"It's a big honor for the little state of Maryland," Hinkle said.

Hinkle said she feels honored that her hard work has paid off.

She said her brothers teased her as a child that girls could never become doctors. Determined to prove them wrong, she plans to finish the paramedics program at HCC and pursue her dream of becoming an emergency room doctor.

"I want to experience the emergency field before I go into eight years of school," she said.

She said once she gets her paramedic degree she will have some of the basic skills an emergency room doctor would need, but she would also like to work as a paramedic in a bigger city where she will experience more serious trauma calls.

"I got here. I ran one call. It's addictive," Hinkle said.

She said she doesn't get to volunteer as much now due to a full-time school schedule and her commitment to a job at the Association of Retarded Citizens in Hagerstown.

When she moved back to Hagerstown from Pulaski, Tenn., near the end of her sophomore year at South Hagerstown High School, Hinkle knew she would go to Technical High School. But she wanted to do something more than just go to classes.

She learned about the Health Occupation Students of America and decided to become a member. Her involvement demanded that she travel across the state to meetings while juggling a class schedule that placed her in the National Vocational Honor Society.

"I knew I could lead," Hinkle said. "I'm a leader and I knew I could get my foot in the door."

She became a state parliamentarian in the organization, and her participation in its competitions helped earn her many health-related awards that wallpaper her bedroom.

Hinkle said the national award, which had no money attached, has given her a lot of confidence. It has also given her motivation.

"It reminds me I can't slack off," she said. "I need to stay up there."

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