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Posted: April 6, 2018 11:18 a.m.
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Touch-A-Truck days rolls into community

Kaytrina Curtis/

Winn ACH EMS Chief, Jim Ochoa, shows the children the inside of an ambulance at Waldo Pafford Elementary School's Touch-A-Truck and Career Day, March 23.

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A medical helicopter circled the open field beside Waldo Pafford Elementary School, as it prepared to land for Touch-A-Truck/Career Day March 23. The TAT was implemented to introduce students to various careers throughout the Liberty County community. 

Winn Army Community Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine Services Chief, Jim Ochoa, readily participated by bringing an ambulance, complete with a simulation mannequin patient named “Jake,” in tow. As the kindergarten through fifth grade students climbed into the truck, they were able to get a mini-lesson on how an ambulance looked inside and Ochoa also used the opportunity to belie their fears if ever the need arose for them to be transported to a medical facility in an ambulance. 

Jodie Austin, a Waldo Pafford music teacher and facilitator for the event, said as a child she had a great experience in her home town of Long Mississippi during a Touch a Truck event, and wanted to exposed students to the same.

“I wanted to share with them the resources available to them to help them if they are hurt or in danger, or if there is a fire,” Austin said. “I also wanted to give them a picture of what their future could look like.”

From the fire, police, electrical and departments to ambulance, street sweeper, hazardous material cleaners, to Army simulators provided by 3rd Combat Aviation Soldiers and more, Austin wants the students to benefit from the day. Austin said Fort Stewart is such an integral part of the Hinesville community, and wants the students to know the hospital is here. 

“I think seeing the emergency medical unit outside of the hospital setting, even outside of the post setting, gives the students a different view of them,” Austin said. “It’s hard for them to realize that those are actual people, those are actual jobs that they are doing. It gives them sort of a human face to put with doctors and nurses, and EMS technicians.”

Ochoa agrees and explained how important it is for the students to be exposed to seeing an ambulance during non-emergent times, but to also learn about the academics involved.

“Education is important, so for them to know strong skills in mathematics and science and that computers are a big part of what we do” Ochoa said. “Although we deal with people, a lot of the work we do has to be either annotated or tracked via computer. Giving medications require mathematics. Science is part of it and includes knowing the anatomy or physiology of it all.” 

Overall, the students seemed to enjoy the experience and the Waldo Pafford faculty and staff hopes the students takes this new knowledge with them into the future. 

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