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Motlow EMT graduates two classes of paramedics

Multiple paramedics were honored during a graduation ceremony for two separate classes of Motlow State Community College students on Aug. 17. Sixteen students completed the program in 2020 but were unable to have a ceremony at that time due to the pandemic.

“One of the classes we are celebrating has been working for the last year,” said Motlow’s Director of Emergency Medical Services Houston Austin. “Converting to online courses for this program was unheard of before COVID. Nothing has slowed them down.”

“I have a standard in EMS. Would each of these individuals be able to take care of my own daughter? That is the highest standard I can hold them to, and I would absolutely trust any of them with that task,” Austin added.

About half of the 2020 class was unable to attend because they are already actively working in their field. From that class were Mt. Juliet residents Ashleigh Whaley and her husband Greg Whaley. Greg was one who was unable to attend.

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The couple initially met when they were in EMT school together at MTSU in 2015. They also completed their advanced EMT together. They were married in 2017 before they started paramedic school.

“He originally wanted to wait and go to paramedic school after I completed it, but I convinced him to do it together and he was glad he did,” explained Ashleigh. They both attended classes at the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy. The Paramedic program is now available at Motlow’s Smyrna campus and is an essential career in high demand.

“We didn’t get divorced!” she joked, adding “We both enjoy helping people and we are good study partners. We have different study habits so we could feed off of each other in difficult moments.”

The pandemic wasn’t enough to stop the couple from achieving their goal. A good paramedic sometimes has to be innovative and that is just what they did after the tornado that devastated much of middle Tennessee in 2020 destroyed their Mt. Juliet home while they were still completing their education.

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“We bought a camper and moved it to Shelbyville to be closer to campus,” explained Ashleigh.

Ashleigh currently works full time at Williamson EMS and Greg is full time at Wilson EMS. The field is in critical need of qualified people.

“Both employers paid us to go to paramedic school,” said Ashleigh. “The school is very time consuming. I recommend it to anyone who is a hard worker and is willing to miss time with their family and friends to really dedicate themselves to the demands of the education and training.”

The Whaleys are not the only one’s not afraid of a challenge. Gingin, West Australia native and current Nashville resident Callie Minton graduated with the 2021 class and was bestowed the class Leadership Award. She attended the program at the College’s Smyrna campus.

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“I wanted a deeper knowledge of how to treat and care for people. I wanted an opportunity to be more than just an EMT,” Minton explained.

Time-management is also essential for successfully completing the Paramedic program. Minton does this all-too-well. She is currently working part time at three separate jobs: Mt. Juliet Fire Department as a firefighter, Life Flight as a medic, and the Wilson County EMA as a firefighter medic.

“We will never reach a point where we know everything; it is important to continue to challenge ourselves,” she said. “There is a lot of information presented in a short time. I did research outside of class because that is just part of the job.”

“I am glad that I switched from another institution to Motlow. I would definitely recommend their Paramedic program,” added Minton. “Motlow met what I was looking for, and the staff here is amazing! They are hard, but fair.”

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Finally, the graduates can appreciate what they have accomplished as they prepare for, and for some even continue, their careers as valuable, highly-competent paramedics. From the time they started the program to the time it was finished, they completed 1200 hours of class time and more than 7,200 hours of clinical time to achieve their goals.

“To the families, we wouldn’t be here today without your support,” said Austin. Every student completed at least 600 hours of clinicals, which is time away from their family.

“Your hard work and dedication has paid off,” said the Dean of Motlow’s Nursing and Allied Health Department Dr. Amy Holder.

“Paramedics encounter human beings at their lowest points. The life of a paramedic is not easy, but it is worth it,” encouraged Holder, adding “Be the type of paramedic you would like to work with.”

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For more information about Motlow’s EMS programs, contact

2020 Graduating Class:

  • Will Farris
  • Tiara Greene – Top Clinical Award recipient
  • Derek Horton
  • Aaron Knapp
  • Curtis Lane
  • Derek Horton
  • Taylor Marshall
  • Nicole Petoskey
  • Randal Potts
  • Ryan Purdom
  • Jenny Reynolds
  • Bronson Slater – Top Academic Award recipient
  • Michael Turner
  • Fallon Washington
  • Ashley Whaley
  • Greg Whaley

2021 Graduating Class:

  • Matt Ahrens
  • Eli Beadle
  • Joseph Farley
  • Jonah Fettig
  • Chad James – Top Clinical Award recipient
  • Ruth Ann Johnson
  • Callie Minton – Leadership Award recipient
  • Nathan Piatt
  • John Rutledge – Top Academic Award recipient
  • Jefferey Schieber
  • Zack Torres
  • Adam Young

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