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Mercy Flights News

Growing medical providers in Southern Oregon

By July 2, 2019No Comments

Mercy Flights Explorer Post 131 to provide medical services at World Scout Jamboree

On July 18, 15 Southern Oregon youth will travel to West Virginia to provide medical services at the 24th annual World Scout Jamboree. The youth crew, accompanied by five volunteer adult advisors will be part of the Jamboree’s medical staff, working in portable emergency rooms and hospitals for two weeks to serve more than 50,000 scouts and leaders from 167 countries around the world. The Explorer Post is a career education division of the Learning for Life program with the Boy Scouts of America. This year marks the 24th year of Mercy Flights sponsorship of Explorer Post 131 in Southern Oregon, which is designed to provide interested young men and women, ages 14 through 20, with emergency medical training and experience.

The next generation of medical providers

“We are proud to have 35 youth explorers and eight volunteer adult advisors participating in the Mercy Flights Explorer Post 131 at this time,” said Rachel Jordan, Explorer Coordinator. “It’s amazing to see our Southern Oregon youth grow into useful, mature, productive citizens with high ideals and high moral standards.”

According to Jordan, the Mercy Flights Explorer Post 131 team members experience both classroom and hands-on training, learning the “back of the ambulance” and also riding along on 12-hour shifts. Each year, the Explorers participate in as many as 66 community events including Scout Camps, Special Olympics, the Pear Blossom Run, The Rogue Run/ Marathon, ALS Walk, YMCA events, youth wrestling events, health fairs, High School Career Events, the Jackson County Fair and multiple others.

Ed Sutton, who has served as an adult advisor since Mercy Flights Explorer Post 131 began in 1995, has seen hundreds of youth come through the program and many have grown into skilled medical providers as EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors. Sutton “grew up in the fire department” and enjoyed a life-long career as an EMT.

“I get great joy out of working with these kids as they learn the skills and get hands-on experience that leads to careers,” said Sutton who added that there are seven nursing graduations this year, several of which he will attend. “It’s amazing and so rewarding to be part of that.”

How Explorer Post 131 came to life

It was Sutton’s son, Tim, an Eagle Scout at the time, who presented the Explorer Post program to Mercy Flights. Tim, a good athlete, student, and also a kidney transplant recipient at 11-years-old, became interested in becoming a paramedic at age 15. It was Ed – Tim’s dad, scout master and kidney donor — who also encouraged Mercy Flights leadership to try the Explorer program which started with six youth and grew to 12 after only 6 months. Tim Sutton started as an explorer and was hired by Mercy Flights to wash vehicles and planes and when he graduated from High School, he became an EMT and operations assistant responsible for stocking ambulances. Tim lost his life to kidney failure in 2000 and the Sutton family started a college scholarship fund at Mercy Flights in his name to help Explorers attend EMT & Paramedic School.

Explorer Post 131 alumni is 2018 EMS Paramedic Provider of the Year

In 2018, Shannon Roesler, an Explorer Post alumni and skilled Mercy Flights paramedic, was recognized by the Oregon Health Authority as the 2018 EMS Paramedic Provider of the Year.

Roesler discovered her passion for Emergency Medical Services as a teenager when she joined the Mercy Flights Explorer program. Since that time, she has enjoyed an 18-year career as an EMS provider for Mercy Flights Inc.

According to the award announcement, “Shannon has consistently been a positive force among her peers. She has consistently sought to spread her love for EMS by volunteering to act as a preceptor for new paramedics from the community college partners. In this capacity, Shannon regularly received praise for her patience and expertise at guiding young clinicians through the always challenging and often overwhelming process of becoming a Paramedic.”

Interviews & visuals

Media representatives interested in filming/photographing Mercy Flights Explorer Post 131 youth in action, or interviewing Explorers/advisors can contact Linda Quon: (541)610-4317 or Explorers meet at Mercy Flights every Wednesday night and are also out in the community making a difference on a regular basis.