They're often called guardian angels, not just because they can fly, but that they tend to show up in our time of need. Paramedics.
To them, it's just a job. A job Loren Iverson knew he always wanted to do.
"When I was growing up in grade school my next-door neighbor was an EMT in Madison and every time he went out on the ambulance I had to ride my bike out to the end of the street to watch him and the ambulance go by." Said Iverson.
All grown up, Loren is now living his dream as a flight paramedic for Careflight.
"My favorite part of the day is when the engines fire up and you get that first smell of that jet fuel and you know you're going to be up in the air and looking out over the countryside it's just, for me it's just peaceful." Said Iverson.
Loren went through EMS school in 1996. Being a South Dakota native he wanted to stay close to home. Lucky for him one of the best schools in the nation for training paramedics is right here in Sioux Falls.
"Here at Avera McKennan we provide education for the EMT or paramedic and basically what we do is we walk with them step-by-step as they learn to respond to emergencies involving child birth to death, literally everything that happens in between." Said Don Jones, the program manager at the Avera McKennan school of EMS.
The curriculum blends all the formal training, with hands on experience both at the hospital and in the field.
"The paramedic program we have class three days a week and in addition to that they also do rotations throughout the hospital in many different departments and also spend time with an ambulance service where they function as a paramedic under the direction of another paramedic." Said Jones.
"That's really what I love about the program is that you get to, it fit my learning style so well. I read in a book and then I get to actually see it in a patient." Said Iverson.
Students who go through the Avera McKennan program have a 94% success rate on the national board exams, the national average is 70%. As if making effective paramedics isn't enough the school also boasts a 100% job placement rate.
"It's what drew me into it and in talking with other students it's one of the reasons why they come to the program." Said Iverson.
As a seasoned vet, Loren looks forward to spending each day expecting the unexpected.
"You never know what you're going to get when you get out there on the scene or once you get to a hospital if we're flying out to a hospital so that's kind of what keeps it exciting and keeps it interesting." Said Iverson.
To fearlessly board a chopper or hold someone's life literally in your hands definitely takes the right person. But for those who choose to enroll, the Avera McKennan school of EMS has the proven method to take ordinary people and transform them into heroes.
"There's a lot of opportunity in EMS and if you have a desire to help others and can handle stressful situations there's an opportunity for you in EMS." Said Jones.
"Be ready to commit yourself it's a lot of work and a lot of dedication but when you come out on the other end of it it's all worth it." Said Iverson.
The Avera McKennan school of EMS offers a 9-month program and a 12-month program to give students more options to complete the course. For more information about the school of EMS just call 877-at-avera or click here.