40 years later, an ELCO teacher honored for starting an EMT training program for students


A dedicated supporter of emergency medical training in his community was honored this summer by ELCO school district officials.

“The ELCO School District has offered an EMT program to our high school students for 40 years,” explained District Superintendent Julia Vicente. The district recognized David Kirchner, who founded the program, “for his years of dedicated service and commitment to our community.”

The school district held a reception honoring Kirchner at the high school on June 20, Vicente said. Subsequently, she said, it was recognized by a special school board resolution. Representatives of State Representative Russ Diamond and State Senator Chris Gebhard were also present and presented proclamations to Kirchner for his service.

Gebhard, in his proclamation, said the program “was designed for seniors to teach students how to handle situations requiring CPR, bandaging and splints, emergency childbirth, lifesaving work in car and medical issues, such as coronaries, diabetic emergencies, bee stings, poisoning, strokes, epilepsy and burns.The one-year course qualifies successful students to become paramedics and serve in the ambulance units.The ELCO High School EMT program has strived to provide excellent educational, social, and civic opportunities for its students, and dedicated community support has laid a strong foundation for its success.

Vicente further noted that the EMT program “has had a significant impact on our community in many ways, from adding paramedics to our first responder rosters to saving lives by people trained in our program. doubt, the program has enriched our community.

The Sunday Patriot-News, in an article published October 8, 1985, noted that the program in its first four years had certified 151 ELCO graduates, many of whom remained active with their local ambulance associations. However, Kirchner then told a reporter that he hadn’t measured the program’s success by counting the numbers.

“One in three students graduating here gets trained,” he said in 1985. “If something happens in front of them, maybe they can help.”

Kirchner taught general physics and chemistry before starting the EMT class. He also volunteered with the Myerstown Ambulance and held state certification as an EMT instructor.

He was inspired to start the class, he explained, after responding to an ambulance call where one of his former students said he “didn’t know what to do” when a family member suffered a cardiac arrest. The ELCO School Board provided $10,000 in start-up funds to launch the program.

At the reception, Vicente said, Kirchner “was joined by his family, members of the Myerstown First Aid Unit, First Aid Patrol and Security, members of the school board. EMT education, ELCO school board members, administrators and other friends”.

An article from the Sunday Patriot-News about ELCO’s EMT program.
An article from the Lebanon Daily News about ELCO’s EMT program.

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