By COLBY DENTON
Clingan Ridge Baptist Church is sponsoring a dinner in honor of Cleveland State’s emergency medical services’ (EMS) students at the college’s Baptist Student Center on Thursday.
Clingan Ridge Baptist Church is sponsoring a dinner in honor of Cleveland State Community College's emergency medical services’ students at the college’s Baptist Student Center on Thursday.
Clingan Ridge is hosting the event via its Boots on the Ground program, which seeks to show God’s love in a practical way. Chick-fil-A is supplying the food for the event, with Little Debbie also donating snack cakes.
Danny Marshall, a Clingan Ridge member who was a paramedic for 10 years in Bradley County before becoming a nurse, believes it will be an excellent opportunity to give back to those who give so much for our community.
“This event is going to be great to recognize the students and full-time workers of EMS,” said Marshall. “This also lets us get to tell these people, ‘Hey, Clingan Ridge is here for you.’”
Marshall stated that two things about the event are near and dear to his heart: fond memories of many years serving with EMS and community outreach.
“An event like this is an opportunity for me to combine both of my passions into one. It lets us show people about our church and the Lord, but it also lets us do something for EMS,” Marshall said.
Boots on the Ground, created in 2016 by Clingan Ridge Associate Pastor the Rev. Shane Lawson, has quickly become an effective means to reach the community, according to Lawson. By bringing much-needed items such as light bulbs and food to nearby citizens, those who participate in Boots on the Ground are filling a need, physically but also spiritually.
Marshall and his wife, Tricia, are the instructors of Clingan Ridge’s Young Professionals/College class, and are avidly involved in outreach.
“This event is open to all EMS and paramedics, and everyone is welcome to bring a guest,” Marshall said. “We want a packed house.”
Stan Clark, assistant director of Bradley County EMS will speak at the event as well as Sherry Wright, the mother of a young EMS student, Maranda Wright, who died in a tragic car accident just before receiving her EMS certification in 2017.
“My daughter, Maranda, was killed in a car accident a week after she graduated the EMS program,” Wright said. “Her badge and certification actually came to us at the funeral home.”
As both of her daughters went to Bradley High School and Cleveland State, Wright said the EMS program gave her family support throughout her daughters’ time in school and after Maranda’s death. According to Wright, her funeral was essentially a full military funeral, as EMS went out of its way to support their family.
“Maranda had this quote on her Twitter that said, ‘If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion; for passion will lead you right into your purpose,’ and that’s what these people are all about in EMS,” Wright said. “I think that this event will show there is more to EMS than a paycheck; instead, these people are working together, saving lives and going all over the area in the process.”
Wright’s husband recently had an aortic aneurism, and she says their daughter’s death “broke his heart.” The aneurism required a mechanical valve replacement and an aortic root replacement, among other measures. Following treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, both Wright and her husband will return to Cleveland just in time for the event.
Being only minutes away from Cleveland State, Marshall said Clingan Ridge is positioned perfectly to work alongside the students, as many of them are future EMS workers like Maranda was.
“This not only allows us to reach out to students, but there are also a lot of local folks who go to Cleveland State that we can minister to as well,” Marshall said.
The event is also hosting a drawing for a special door prize.
“We actually have a Littman Cardiology stethoscope that we are giving away as a door prize, which is around a $175 value,” Marshall said. “We want them to know just how much they are appreciated.”
Cleveland State offers an emergency medical technician program, as well as a paramedic program.
The EMT program involves learning patient assessment, vital signs and oxygen therapy, while paramedics learn more advanced techniques and the use of cardiac drugs.
“The biggest takeaway that I want people to have about this event is that it’s a ‘thank you’ to our first responders,” added Marshall.
The dinner takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, in the Baptist Student Center at Cleveland State. Marshall says he hopes everyone involved in EMS will attend.
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