August 30, 2019
Story and portrait by Brandon Steinert
Some children believe their parents are as powerful as superheroes; that image was reinforced for Ashlee Miller as she grew up watching her parents respond to calls for help by literally running out the door to save lives. Her father is a firefighter and paramedic, and her mother is a paramedic.
“My parents were always first on scene,” she said proudly. “It was just awesome seeing them just drop everything and run to those in need.”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; Miller is enrolled full time at Barton Community College with the goal of securing certification as an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) and she is exploring her options in criminal justice. And like a first-responder rushing to the task at hand, Miller wasted no time getting started. She graduated high school with her first year of college under her belt, an impressive 36 credit hours.
If you ask her how she did it, she won’t sugar-coat anything: it was hard. She started college courses during her junior year of high school. She was in volleyball, basketball, track and power lifting. But wait, there’s more; add class president and main prom planner to the list along with high school student and full time college student.
When she’s done with college, Miller plans to either return to her hometown of Burdett and serve her community as a first responder, or head to a big city and try to land a gig as a paramedic with a helicopter crew.
In the meantime, she said she’s enjoying the Barton experience and the interaction and support she receives from her instructors, naming EMS Instructor Jenny Ladd specifically. She also expressed excitement about the college’s all-day emergency simulation in May, Field Ops Day, which features dozens of scenarios with actors, real ambulances and mentors from EMS crews in central Kansas. The day also features a cameo from a LifeSave helicopter EMS team.
Miller said she feels like she’s on the right track with her career choice.
“I want to be the first person to show up and I want to know how to help when someone is in pain or suffering,” she said. “I love it.”