Nichole Goebel set a new mark this winter for the youngest member of the Nebraska City Emergency Medical Services and says growing up with a father volunteering for the rescue squad help prepared her to follow her heart.
Goebel, who graduated high school Sunday at the age of 17, said she was drawn to the emergency medical technician course offered by Creighton University in Nebraska City partly because rescue calls were a regular part of life growing up.
Her father, Gregg Goebel, is Otoe County Emergency Management director and has been a rescue squad volunteer since 1981.
Although she can not be officially certified until she reaches the age of 18, she has been pulling some duty with the squad as a student.
“It's interesting to get a perspective of the inner-workings of the actual rescue squad and the people that respond,” she said.
In December, there was a two-car injury accident at an intersection outside of the Nebraska City High School and Goebel found herself in the role of a first responder.
She knew the driver of one of the vehicles.
“This first thing I said wasn't good. You probably couldn't put it in the newspaper,” she said.
But then she realized she could help in the situation.
“I started doing the evaluation and everything from the class started coming back,” she said.
It was an experience that solidified Goebel's intention to study trauma psychology at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
She said she wants to not only help people with their physical needs, but to help them deal with emotional trauma.
As a parent, Gregg Goebel said, he is proud of his daughter's accomplishment. He is also encouraged from the perspective of the rescue squad.
“It will take the next generation, the kids who are juniors and seniors in high school and the young people in colleges, to get involved in fire and EMS so that the volunteer base in our community survives,” he said.
He recommends the EMT courses offered in Nebraska City to any student interested in health care.
“It gives them an open perspective on what the EMT and medical field are all about,” he said.