Temple Police, faculty, alumni and students gathered inside the police station at 12th Street and Montgomery Avenue on Thursday, Feb. 28, to honor Temple University Emergency Medical Services for five years of service on Main Campus. The attendees reminisced about the beginnings of the young program.
TUEMS is a student-run, volunteer organization of trained EMTs and first responders who respond to medical emergencies on Main Campus. The idea for the program was conceived in 2005, but did not come to fruition until 2008.
Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Carl Bittenbender led Thursday’s presentation.
Four students of the program, Paul Grodziak, Val Rakita, Zachary Reichenbach, and Anthony Wiencek were recognized as the founders of the program. Reichenbach is the only current university student.
“Zach was the persistent one,” Bittenbender said. “Then we had Anthony the schmoozer, Val was very steady, and Paul, well I guess you need an aggressive one.”
Medical Director Dr. Michael Wang, Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone, Capt. Denise Wilhelm and the rest of the university police force were also recognized at the gathering.
“In the beginning, you start this and you wonder, ‘how are the police officers going to react?’ and it went much, much smoother than I ever anticipated,” Bittenbender said.
Wiencek said he’s impressed at how much the program has grown.
“Its very exciting to see something you affected here at a major university, in a major city, still vibrant and actually further than it was when you were here,” he said. “It’s a mind blowing experience.”
Fellow founder Reichenbach, thanked to the police force for working with TUEMS since its founding.
“It’s been phenomenal working with the police,” Reichenbach said. “Seven years of an excellent work relationship.”
Bittenbender wrapped up the event by honoring all of those involved in the organization.
“I can’t think of a better student organization than you folks. So first five [years] are down, let’s hope there’s 50 more, congratulations to you all- really thank you very much,” Bittenbender said.
Cindy Stansbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.