Austin Knight Foundation donates $5,000 to Roane State’s EMS program

The Austin Knight Foundation presents a $5,000 donation to Roane State Foundation in support of the community college’s EMS program. Pictured left to right are Scott Niermann, executive director of Roane State Foundation; David Blevins, Roane State EMS program director; William “B.J.” Hillard, Amanda Hillard and son Finn.

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

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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