Shelley Spaw always wanted to be a paramedic.
At 17, she became certified as a basic EMT, but she chose not to pursue the career at that age, so she worked in various jobs. After being laid off, she decided to go back to school and finish what she started years ago. She will graduate in May with a Paramedic Associate of Science degree—and she has already been hired as a full-time paramedic with the Canonsburg Ambulance Service.
The Canonsburg EMS got a good idea of Spaw’s qualifications during her externship with the service last summer. During a training shift, she and her supervisor responded to a car accident. While tending to the medical needs of the two occupants, they learned the women were traveling from West Virginia to Pittsburgh when they had become lost.
They had been trying to get to Mercy Hospital where a relative of the women had been transported to undergo open heart surgery. Spaw told the anxious women that she would drive them to the hospital in her personal vehicle.
“The women were super grateful,” she recalled. “I would want someone to do the same for me.”
As a result of her actions, she was honored with an Allegheny County Emergency Medical Services Council EMS Champion Award at the council’s annual meeting in June 2014. “It means a lot,” said Spaw. “I want to be the best paramedic I can possibly be.”
“I have a lot of respect and gratitude for the program and for the people who helped me along the way.”
—Shelley Spaw, student, CCAC Paramedic program
She credits her professors and advisors at CCAC with preparing her well. “Everyone has been great. I have a lot of respect and gratitude for the program and for the people who helped me along the way.”
Spaw especially enjoyed training on the “really cool technology” in CCAC’s new Prism Health Services Paramedic Laboratory. “It makes me feel good that CCAC is investing in my future.”