Jones named Roane State Paramedic Student of the Year

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

Matthew A. Jones, a member of the Pigeon Forge Fire Department, has been named the 2021 Roane State Community College Paramedic Student of the Year, joining a select group of more than 40 individuals since the inception of the award more than 35 years ago.

Jones, 26, a resident of Dandridge, was selected by members of the latest cohort of paramedic candidates and honored during a recent luncheon.

The paramedic curriculum at Roane State’s Knox County Center for Health Sciences is a technical certificate program that spans three semesters.

Paramedic Program Director David Blevins said members of the cohort experienced “challenging times in the classroom and the field.” Classes were held as the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak and numerous precautions to thwart its spread were in place.

“Thank you for all you’ve done and all you’re going to do,” Roane State President Dr. Chris Whaley told the paramedic candidates, adding they were becoming members of an “honorable profession.”

Dr. Randal Dabbs, with the doctors’ consortium TEAMHealth, said the times he rode in ambulances with paramedics “made me a better ER doctor.”

After graduating from an Ohio high school, Jones joined the Air Force Reserves and was stationed in three different locations, including Kuwait as part of “Operation Inherent Resolve.”

Jones returned to Ohio after being honorably discharged and began searching for an occupation to utilize his talents. He landed the job with the Pigeon Forge Fire Department three years ago.

Jones enrolled in Roane State’s paramedic program in January after previously training as an emergency medical technician and advanced EMT at another college.

Jones praised Tom Herron, professor and clinical coordinator for Roane State’s Paramedic Program. “Tom pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn to be a better healthcare provider,” he said.

About Bob Fowler

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