By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer
A foundation established by the parents of a former Roane State student recently donated $5,000 in support of the community college’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program.
William “B.J.” Hillard and Amanda Hillard said they are honoring the memory of their son, Austin Logan Knight, through the Austin Knight Foundation. Austin was killed in a car crash in 2018, just a month after enrolling in Roane State’s EMT program.
Over the last four years, Austin’s parents have worked to incorporate their late son’s passions with their efforts in the community on behalf of the foundation. This also provides them with an opportunity to tell Austin’s story, explained David Blevins, director of Roane State’s Emergency Medical Services program.
“When Austin joined the EMT program at Roane State, he was joining to enter the profession to help others,” Blevins said. “That kind of calling is what is so special about our profession. To see somebody so young have that ambition is unique, just like Austin.”
Austin was posthumously awarded an EMT technical certificate from Roane State and an EMT License from the Tennessee Office of EMS.
“We are honored and so very grateful to receive this gift from the Austin Knight Foundation, which will support the EMS program and its students at Roane State,” said Scott Niermann, executive director of the Roane State Foundation.
“We will ensure these funds go to maintain the high quality EMS education at Roane State and help students be able to complete their training with us,” Niermann added. “It continues to be a privilege to work with the Hillard family in honoring Austin’s life.”
Roane State’s EMS program consists of three programs: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), and Paramedic. These programs are based at the college’s Knox County Center for Health Sciences located at 132 Hayfield Road in West Knoxville. For more information on EMS programs, visit roanestate.edu/EMS.