Rogue Community College’s Emergency Services program has taught hundreds of local paramedics and firefighters the life-saving skills necessary to serve and protect our community. All of these professionals have one thing in common—an outstanding teacher.
Gary Heigel, department chair of Emergency Services, was recently named Oregon’s Emergency Medical System Educator of the Year. He was nominated by Dr. Paul Rostykus, EMS director for Jackson County.
With more than 30 years of experience, Gary imparts his vast knowledge to students because he knows the work they do makes a difference.
“When life and death decisions need to be made quickly, nothing less than excellence will do,” Gary says. “We are very proud that we maintain high standards and produce outstanding graduates.”
RCC works closely with local emergency services providers to ensure students get the specific training and skills needed to be effective in their challenging roles. Gary and his team of instructors aim to instill in each student not just facts but also critical character traits such as caring, compassion, and the ability to make difficult decisions in high-stress environments.
“On a regular basis, emergency providers must handle situations that most people would hope to never encounter. Our students must learn how to manage these difficult scenes calmly and effectively, and develop the ability to be a leader in times of crisis,” Gary says.
More than 100 students graduate from the Emergency Services programs each year, and about 90 percent of them stay in the Rogue Valley to serve our local communities.