- Class of 2022
- Community Outreach
Midway through the COVID-19 pandemic, Evan Old was getting bored.
The pastimes so many of us turned to – sourdough starters, Netflix marathons, home improvement projects – didn’t appeal. But jumping into action did.
“I was always driving by Ocean Park Volunteer Rescue,” Evan said. “I wanted to get a tour and see what they did.”
That was in the spring of 2021. By the start of his senior year, Evan was a certified Emergency Medical Technician and had begun working with the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad at Station 8 and Station 14.
Just one year after that pivotal tour, Evan won Tidewater EMS Council’s award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a High School Senior.
Evan’s transformation over the course of the year amazed his mother.
“He has found his calling,” Mrs. Marie Old said. “It helped him academically, because he was a smart kid but very unmotivated. Doing this opened his eyes to emergency medicine. His grades went up and he started having more eloquent conversations with his science teachers.”
At one point uncertain whether he belonged in any academic setting, Evan now looks forward to studying at Hampden-Sydney College and will likely pursue even higher degrees.
“I’ve made a lot of connections to people in the field. I’ve met a lot of doctors, which enabled me to go out and shadow them in my other free time,” Evan said. “I’d like to pursue a career in medicine, so that’s been a good start.”
Responding to rescue calls opened Evan’s eyes to more than his future. He also saw clearly his position in life and his sense of purpose.
“I’m very privileged in terms of what my family’s given me. I got to see what life is for other people and that’s been an eye-opening experience,” he said. “You’re called in to provide care for someone who’s a stranger and they put their trust in you. It’s up to you to deliver on that. I feel more responsible now, and more accountable.”
Initially worried that her son was too young for the responsibility he was taking on, and concerned for his safety, Mrs. Old is now grateful for the maturing effect of Evan’s VBVRS experience – something he’s noticed as well.
“It was a growing experience. It’s changed the way I look at life as more of a temporary thing,” he said. “It’s made me more ambitious and probably more caring in the lives of random strangers.”
Although he appreciates the recognition from his colleagues and is now up for a Governor’s EMS Award, Evan says the honors aren’t what motivate him.
“You get brought into someone’s home on their worst days and try to make it better,” he said. “The people I get to meet and help have been the best part of it.”