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

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 five years, Austin’s parents have worked to incorporate their late son’s passions with their efforts in the community on behalf of the foundation. As Roane State’s EMS program director David Blevins explained, this also provides them with an opportunity to tell Austin’s story.

“Austin wanted to become an EMT to help others,” Blevins said. “He was committed to his goal of learning to save lives and understood what makes the profession so special, even at such a young age. Seeing his family find new ways to help others in his memory is truly inspiring.”

Austin was posthumously awarded an EMT technical certificate from Roane State and an EMT License from the Tennessee Office of EMS. The donation made by his family earlier this month is the second gift in as many years to the Roane State EMS program. The Austin Knight Foundation also contributed $5,000 to the program last year.

“It continues to be a privilege to work with the Hillard family in honoring Austin’s life,” said Scott Niermann, executive director of the Roane State Foundation. “These funds help support our students and maintain the high quality of EMS education at Roane State.”

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

Founded in 1971, Roane State has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit or call (865) 882-4554. Eligible adults can attend tuition-free with the Tennessee Reconnect grant. Learn more at

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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