Coming of Age in the Time of COVID-19

Posted by & filed under Local and Regional Events, Virginia Beach Volunteers Our Stories.

by Andrea [Drea] L.K. Tembreull, NREMT

The amazing process of becoming an EMT for the City of Virginia Beach begins with you. In my case, that meant I decided I was in a place in life to dedicate time assisting my neighbors and giving back to my community.

In Virginia Beach, there are two tracks from which to choose to become an EMT: traditional college or the City’s EMT Academy. I chose the latter and followed the steps necessary to be accepted in the July 2019 class… Academy 34. There are so many amazing people at the EMS Training Center who go above and far beyond their volunteer work to ensure our success!

An exciting, informative, and whirlwind five months later, graduation was here! After passing the National Emergency Medical Technician exam, the next step is Virginia Beach’s unique internship program where interns are taken under the wings of more amazing people who guide them through learning how to be one of the very best EMT volunteers in the country!

Then there was COVID-19.

This virus arrived with a whisper here in the city and continues to insidiously blow around spreading sickness and fear. Should I pause my training? Am I going to be infected? Will I bring the virus home to my family?

You hear people on the news asking these same questions, but when it’s you having to ask, everything changes! I paused, looked around at my fellow volunteers, and felt the collective strength of hundreds of people who have dedicated a part of their lives to assisting those in need. I realized this moment in time, maybe more than other moments, was precisely why I chose to become a part of this family of volunteers and I had each of them standing beside me.

In addition, the Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services has been swiftly gaging the situation, responding to each new guidance, and deploying safety measures that surpass those recommended, sometimes more than once per day! I finished my training and was released as an Attendant in Charge (EMT) in March.

I can’t say enough about the support I’ve received from family, friends, & neighbors. My family, especially my husband, has sacrificed time with me; belayed hugs until after I’ve showered; abandoned the garage because I use it to decontaminate; prepared meals; and a giant list of other things they’ve deployed to assist me. My friends & neighbors leave goodies at our door and provide moral support electronically. I am blessed beyond measure!

Am I invincible? No. Am I secure in the knowledge I am being taught the best safety practices possible? Yes. Is there a community out there that needs us right now? Absolutely! We stand before you in order to stand with you! Join us!

  • Did you know that EMT training is free when you join the Volunteer Rescue Squads of Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach residency is not required?S
  • Learn more and submit an online application at Join VA Beach EMS.

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