On Tuesday, Feb. 28, Bainbridge State College made one special student’s dream come true.
Blair Williams, 25, of Climax has always dreamed of becoming an EMT. It was never quite certain if Blair would ever be able to attend college because of her special needs; however, fate stepped in that brought her to becoming BSC’s first honorary EMT graduate.
In 2015, Blair and her mother, Nina McMillian, met Katie Harrell, the senior academic counselor at Bainbridge State College. After their meeting, things began to change for Blair. She was accepted into college. The new student was eager to make her dreams come true.
Charles Avery, the EMS Programs Coordinator at BSC, remembered the day Blair entered his office and told him of her dream to become an EMT and knew he had to help make her dream come true.
In a collaborative effort with South GA EMS, Air Methods, Bainbridge Memorial Hospital and BSC’s School of Health Sciences and Professional Studies, Avery began to plan Blair’s clinical rotation/EMS mock call and awards ceremony.
On Tuesday morning around 10 a.m., the drill began with a call to the EMS station claiming a student had fallen at the BSC Student Wellness Center. Blair jumped into action with the rest of the EMS team at South GA EMS.
The team had Blair on the radio to keep everyone in check on route to and from the call. When the ambulance arrived on the scene, Blair worked right alongside the EMTs and paramedics just like she had always dreamed.
When the “patient” had been secured and placed on the ambulance, Blair helped transport her to the Bainbridge Memorial Emergency Room. It was there that she told the ER staff what happened to the patient. The EMS and ER personnel congratulated her on a job well done at the end of the clinical rotation.
Blair arrived back on campus and she was greeted by family, friends and her classmates. It was then that she received the ultimate honorary EMT graduate treatment.
Dr. Stuart Rayfield, the Interim President at Bainbridge State College, presented Blair with the Honorary EMT Award and her EMT Instructor, Charles Avery, presented her with an EMT pin.
As Avery pinned his student, he said, “There is no prouder moment in an instructor’s life than when we can look at a student and see their dreams come true.”
Blair’s EMT class was supportive every step of the way. They joined in the celebration by offering their extended support and giving gifts of flowers along with her first stethoscope at her ceremony.
Randy Williams, the South GA EMS Director, presented Blair with an award from South GA EMS. Steven Taff with Air Methods named Blair as an honorary life flight member.
Air Methods surprised Blair by landing the helicopter at Bainbridge State College for her and the rest of the campus to explore.
Blair’s mother, Nina McMillian, was overwhelmed by the support from Bainbridge State College and the entire community.
She said, “I’m so proud of Blair—but not just of Blair. I’m proud of Decatur County and Bainbridge State College and what they have done to make this day special for Blair.”
As a mother, McMillian wanted people to see the abilities that her daughter possesses, not the disabilities.
“I can’t describe it. When she was born and we found out she had Down’s syndrome, we wondered what her life would be like and what she would be able to accomplish. In every stage of her life, God has placed people that have been there at the right time for her,” she continued. “It’s answered prayers and Blair has purpose. Blair is proof that there are no mistakes. She has abilities. She doesn’t have disabilities. She has abilities—and I hope that’s what people have seen today.”
Once the events had drawn to a close, a huge smile remained on Blair’s face. She couldn’t stop smiling.
She said, “I feel great. I want to save lives and to help others who are in need. My parents are happy for me and help support my goals.”
Blair’s plans are to continue working in her dream field.
EMS Programs Coordinator, Charles Avery, is Bainbridge State College’s Rick Perkins Award Winner. In April, he will compete for the state Rick Perkins Award.