Cresco EMT, Career Learning students offer first aid skills for RAGBRAI riders


CRESCO - During the annual grueling RAGBRAI ride, some injuries require more than a Band-Aid. That's why nine area high school students enrolled in Northeast Iowa Community College's (NICC) Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) - Career Pathway Certificate program jumped at the chance to use their medical skills to volunteer in the community on July 27.
The RAGBRAI riders stopped in Cresco to rest for the night, and the students were on hand to administer First Aid. In fact, many of the riders’ aches and pains often demand more serious medical attention. According to a 2010 study by, the most common injuries RAGBRAI riders sustain during the multi-day annual event include: bone fractures to the clavicle, shoulder or hands; lacerations and abrasions above the waist; and soft tissue injuries to the head or upper extremities. Seven of the nine high school student volunteers are also enrolled in the Northeast Iowa Career Learning Link (CLL) program through NICC to explore future careers in healthcare.
Brandi Durnan, a volunteer and high school senior at North Fayette Valley in West Union, viewed the event as an opportunity to put her First Aid skills to the test. She is enrolled in the Emergency Medical Technician-Career Pathway Certificate program through NICC and participates in CLL to prepare her for a future healthcare career.
“I was very excited to work at RAGBRAI this year. In my life, I have always volunteered; I do it for the community,” Durnan said, who plans to complete the Associate Degree of Nursing program at NICC and then enroll at University of Iowa to complete the Paramedic program. “Our EMT class has helped us as students to become more aware of things in the clinical field and to help each other as peers. Through CLL, I also had the opportunity to job shadow the ER at Gundersen Hospital in LaCrosse (WI).”
Josh Shimak, Career Learning Link and mentoring coach at NICC, praised the students for their energy and commitment to serving others as volunteers. He knows that high school students who identify and work toward a future career tend to continue their college education and progress into successful careers.
“I am impressed that these students made a serious commitment to better themselves. This is a fast-paced summer EMT course. It's rigorous and demanding. They have had to make sacrifices in order to make it work. This is a group of forward thinking, risk-takers,” Shimak explained. “Students in the class, such as Allison Butikofer, hope to make a career out of emergency services and serve as a critical care flight paramedic. Braxton Smith is a volunteer fireman, and his EMT certification will allow him to step up and take on a larger leadership role in his community service. All of the students understand that their First Aid and CPR training could save a life someday.”
In addition to Durnan, eight other students contributed in Cresco as First Aid volunteers: Jordan Burrack, Allison Butikofer, Chloe Kime, Manning Kuboushek, Kaiden Loyd, Braxton Smith, Nathan Ward and Hunter Whittle.
The 132-hour Emergency Medical Technician - Career Pathway Certificate program at the College delivers the National Standard Curriculum for Emergency Medical Technicians as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is preparatory for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians psychomotor and cognitive examinations. The combination of classroom, hands-on lab, off-site clinical and field experience addresses emergency medical services skills, patient rights and communication.
For more information about the program, visit More information about the Career Learning Link program through NICC is available at

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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