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Medics in training

Yareli Reyes from Early College High School cut moleskin in preparation for treating marchers’ blisters. (Submitted Photo)

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Instead of sleeping in on a Sunday morning like most teenagers, eight Early College High School students and their sponsors woke up at 3:30 a.m. on March 25 to begin a 16-hour day volunteering in the medical tents along the Bataan Memorial March route.

Evelyn Gonzalez from Early College High School cut moleskin in preparation for treating marchers’ blisters. (Submitted Photo)

The students are members of HOSA, an organization for future health professionals, and all were required to obtain their CPR and First Aid certification to qualify for this opportunity.

In the predawn hours, the students were assigned and enroute to army-style medical tents along the march route. When the teams arrived at their sites, they found that some of the tents had been blown down by the previous nights’ winds, so they worked with army and other medical personnel to re-erect the tents, set up cots, organize the site and prepare for the thousands of marchers who would be passing through their sites.

Students were often the first contact for marchers with medical needs coming into the tents as they registered marchers, noted their concerns, passed that information on to the health professionals and kept records of numbers and categories of injuries treated.

During the peak part of the day, hundreds of marchers stopped at medical tents, and the students experienced firsthand the teamwork necessary to care for large numbers of patients in a short space of time.

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Student Evelyn Gonzalez, who was participating for the second year, said, “I learned so many things this year and I love seeing so many people come together to honor the American soldiers who made the original march. I will for sure be there next year.”

Sponsor Lucie Hall said, “Working with the Medical Reserve Corps at the Bataan Memorial March gives our students an authentic work experience. The ECHS students are the only high school students participating with the Corps at Bataan, and we really appreciate Bobby McKenzie and Robert Perry from the state organization giving us the opportunity. Our principal Dr. Cutrell recognizes the value of real work experiences and makes these kinds of trips possible.”

Students are already talking about next year.

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