Hoosac Valley Athletic Director Molly Meczywor Getting EMT Certification
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Molly Meczywor, teacher and athletic director for Hoosac Valley High School, recently completed an emergency medical technician course in order to become a certified EMT.
Meczywor, who did a ride-along with the Northern Berkshire EMS recently, started taking her EMT course several months ago. She explained the course was more work than she anticipated, but support from the administration and others at the high school made it a lot easier.
"When I decided to take the course, I didn't know, exactly, what I was getting myself into," she said, noting that she had to balance her coursework with her other duties. "It was a lot of work, but I had help and support from everyone here, which made it much easier."
The ride-along, Meczywor said, was a thought-provoking experience. She spent about eight hours with the ambulance crew as they went about their usual daily routine.
"It's amazing," she said, "I can't say enough about North Adams ambulance. It's just another way that I get to build relationships and get involved."
Principal Colleen Byrd said Meczywor getting the training is a significant benefit for the school. Byrd said she gave her full support when she learned Meczywor was planning to take the course.
"My initial reaction was yes, absolutely," she said. "I was excited about it."
Byrd said the shortage of medical workers, particularly EMTs, has been a significant issue throughout Berkshire County and the country.
"We've seen the struggle happening across the county and it's been in the news across the country where teachers are leaving positions. People in health care are leaving positions and there's this shortage in many different things," she said. "And so for Molly to come forward and say, 'I'm really interested in doing this,' it's not only going to help our school, but it's going to help the county. I said 100 percent go for it."
Meczywor said Fred Balawender, who currently acts as an EMT for sporting events at HVHS, was the one who convinced her to take the course.
"He checks in on me every week," she said. "He's like, 'how are you doing? What do you need?' Sometimes he'll quiz me. During some soccer games, it was kind of fun, he'd let me shadow a little bit. I would ask questions, and he'd say, 'Well, what do you think? What are we going to do here?' So yeah, he's really been a great mentor."
Balawander said he felt Meczywor would be a great EMT. He explained her role as an athletic director who is more often than not at HVHS sporting events, made her a good fit for the course.
"We've got such a shortage of EMTs now that it's hard to get people to come up and do the games, you know?," he said. "So you take Molly, she's athletic director, if she can take over some of the some of the games, that makes things so much easier for us."
Balawander recognized that he will soon have to retire, making Meczywor's decision to become an EMT that much better.
"I'm getting of age, you know," he said. "I'm 77, and you have to find somebody coming along. And it's a perfect fit, actually, for any school to have an EMT to come in. And for her, the athletic director, it's perfect."
Byrd said she had complete confidence in Meczywor's ability to balance the EMT course with her other work.
"What I saw from Molly is something that I've seen in her for the several years that I've worked with her which is that she wears many hats, and she wears them well," she said. "She is a hardworking person. She's dedicated. You can definitely tell when she has a lot on her plate, but she never let that get in the way of her job. She never let that get in the way of the relationships that she's built with students or other teachers or faculty members. And she really is someone who was able to put things in perspective and power through."
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