Air Force Paramedic Kimberly Hurt came to speak to the students of Lewis and Clark Community College about her job in the United States military and the dangers she encountered while serving her country and helping people.
Hurt spoke of her desire to serve her country, so she began her career in the Navy. ”I wanted to serve my country and I started as a radioman,” Hurt explained. Other duties, however, called as she got out of the Navy in 2001 to take care of her children, but this did not end her determination to help people.
She worked as a paramedic before returning to service in the Air Force as a flight paramedic, deploying to Afghanistan. She was required to fly into the danger zone, where wounded warriors were picked up for medical care and transportation.
Hurt expressed her appreciation for what she does saying, “It’s very rewarding, I love my job, I love helping people.” She recounted one story about a canine service member which required immediate medical attention, as the German Shepherd had acquired a nasty infection and was transported by helicopter to Bahrain where it received the care it needed.
Hurt was glad that she was capable of serving her country, “I never felt like I served my country ‘til then.’” She is currently preparing for another deployment with her unit, but has some time at home before the decision will be made.
Currently, there is a debate in Washington as to whether women should serve in combat roles in the military. Hurt said it may negatively impact the performance of a unit as it might cause unnecessary distractions of opposite genders. She believes, however, that women can serve in dangerous areas and are capable of doing the same jobs as men, if they are able to meet the same standards as men. Kelly Obernuefemann who coordinated the event commented, “That is an important discussion to have as women in high risk jobs is the theme.”
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