Tag Archives: U.S. Air Force

Serving those who serve

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I had the honor of delivering welcoming remarks to the most recent graduates of our Paramedic training program for U.S. Air Force personnel. The initiative illustrates how PCC’s impact on the community reaches far beyond Tucson.

So far, 113 Air Force airmen have completed the program and returned to their duty stations across the nation. The five-year contract with the Air Force calls for 200 paramedics to be trained by PCC’s Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute (PSESI).

Past graduates of the program have distinguished themselves in numerous ways. One was credited with saving the life of a comrade-in-arms who was in cardiac arrest. Another was complimented by a Veterans Administration hospital patient for her skill and bedside manner. As a recent graduate of the program wrote to PSESI: “I can say with the utmost confidence that the program . . . has no equal. It will undoubtedly save the lives of U.S. servicemen and women for years to come.”

These accomplishments and accolades are a testament to the quality of instruction and support provided by the faculty and staff at the PSESI, and I thank them for their work.

Our collaboration with the Air Force would not be successful without field training provided by the Tucson Fire Department, or the clinical hours supplied through Banner University Medical Center, and St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s hospitals. As graduation ceremony keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Martha McSally put it, in tough economic times, “We’re going to be stronger together.” Well said.

M.A.G.I.C Weekend


I was honored to deliver remarks at My Air Guard Incentives Center (M.A.G.I.C.) Weekend earlier this month. The event, hosted by our West Campus, is a collaboration with the Arizona National Guard’s 162nd Wing. M.A.G.I.C. Weekend provided about 200 newly sworn-in Airmen from the Student Flight program, Drill Status Guardsmen and active-duty U.S. Air Force Airmen, along with their spouses and dependents, with tools to make informed career, personal and family decisions

PCC is excited to strengthen its relationship with the military and veterans community of Tucson and the state of Arizona. I appreciated the opportunity to speak about my experience in the Army, and I want to note PCC employs members of the 162nd Wing in key positions. PCC is committed to enhancing opportunities for our military and veterans through education. We owe these brave men and women our best.

Training that saves lives


I recently had the privilege of attending the graduation of 21 new paramedics from the U.S. Air Force. The diverse group is the third cohort to have completed four months of six-day-a-week training at our Public Safety and Emergency Services Institute.

Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D, and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally

Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D, and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honor Guard

So far, PCC has trained 71 airmen and airwomen to become paramedics under the five-year training contract the College received from the U.S. Air Force last year. I related to the new graduates that the Air Force recently recognized one of the graduates of the first cohort for saving a life of a comrade-in-arms.

The impressive list of speakers included U.S. Rep. Martha McSally;  keynote speaker Brigadier Gen. Jim Balserak, M.D., Mobilization Assistant to the Director of the Defense Health Headquarters; and PSESI Medical Director Dr. Andrea Herbert.  Among their key messages: never stop learning. Completion of coursework at PCC gives the paramedics the foundation for future stackable credentials earned during their professional career.

Like many fields of study offered at PCC, paramedicine is changing rapidly and requires constant training to stay atop the profession.

Rep. McSally called the connection between PCC and the Air Force a “cutting-edge partnership,” which is especially apt given our special relationship with Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Congratulations are in order for our Shane Clark, Sharon Hollingsworth and the team at PSESI for organizing an excellent ceremony. I look forward to attending graduations of future classes of these great young airwomen and airmen for years to come.

Expanding opportunities


I had the privilege last week of attending two events illustrating the breadth of activities the College is undertaking to expand community engagement in ways that transcend state and national borders.

Members of the Mexico Consulate General’s office in Tucson visited the College Friday to memorialize the PCC Foundation’s receipt of a $90,000 grant from the government of Mexico through their Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME). The grant supports attainment of postsecondary education by Mexican immigrants and Americans of Mexican origin at PCC.

This initiative is connected to two education efforts that are hemispheric in scope: the U.S.’100,000 Strong for the Americas Global Initiative, which seeks to increase the number of U.S. students pursuing studies in Latin America, and its Mexican counterpart Proyecta 100,000. The goal is by 2018 to have 100,000 students from Mexico studying in the U.S., and for 50,000 U.S. students to be expanding their academic horizons in Mexico.

Mexican Consul Ricardo Pineda Albarrán framed the initiative as one centered on student mobility and cross-cultural awareness. Tucson “is the community we want to work with,” he said.

My thanks go to PCC’s Dr. Ricardo Castro Salazar, who has been serving as an external advisor with IME and applied for the grant for the Foundation; PCC Foundation Assistant Vice Chancellor Cheryl House; IME’s Mr. Ernesto de Lucas, who works with 50 Mexican consulates in the U.S. and has been very supported throughout the process; deputy consul Enrique Gomez; and community leader Raúl E. Aguirre, who also is an external advisor with IME.

Also on Friday, the College graduated the first class of Air Force personnel from our Paramedic program. A diverse group of 26 airmen from across the U.S. completed an intensive four-month curriculum. The next class begins in January, with as many as 10 classes planned.

At the ceremony, I thanked Major General Dorothy A. Hogg, Director, Medical Operations and Research, and Chief of the Nurse Corps, Office of the Surgeon General, for entrusting PCC to train the paramedics with skills that could mean the difference between the life and death of their comrades-in-arms. I was moved, as I suspect was the entire audience, by keynote remarks from Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Carmona, the son of immigrants whose incredible career began by earning a GED and attending a community college in New York City, described the training program as one example of the many mutually beneficial connections between civilian organizations and the military. He told the newly minted paramedics that what they learned at PCC will let them make a positive impact on the lives of countless people. “Don’t ever doubt that one person can make a difference,” Dr. Carmona said.

Congratulations are in order for our Shane Clark, Sharon Hollingsworth and the team at PSESI for organizing a stirring ceremony.

It’s important to remember that as we pursue opportunities across borders or with varied governmental entities, we are strengthening the entire College. We build partnerships targeting specific sectors in order to spur growth that our institution needs to survive and thrive in a competitive global environment. It is not a zero-sum game, and the winners are our students and the community.