GODFREY — The Derrick Richardson Scholarship is gaining traction at Lewis & Clark Community College's Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Program, with three recent recipients and two more set to receive the scholarship for the upcoming 2024 Summer and Fall semesters, according to Derrick Richardson.

Mathew Wilson of Edwardsville, who pursued his EMT certification last semester, said, "I am trying to become a career firefighter with the Edwardsville Fire Department." Similarly, A’Basa Brown of Alton, who completed his certification this past spring, expressed his motivation: "I was thinking of a way I would be able to serve my community. I am a personal trainer now, so what I do already helps people with making better life choices. My uncle was a firefighter growing up, so I visited the local fire stations frequently. Now this opportunity came up, and I want to see where it takes me."

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Jamal Jones of Godfrey, a current student in the LC EMT Program, hopes to complete his certification to jump-start his career. "I’ve always wanted to help people. I think me becoming a firefighter will help me fulfill my purpose in life," Jones said.

Richardson emphasized the importance of the scholarship, encouraging potential donors to contribute. "If you are looking for a good cause to donate to, please consider donating to this scholarship," Richardson said. Since its announcement on March 5, 2021, the Derrick Richardson Scholarship has garnered support from various individuals and organizations. "This will allow the awarding of many scholarships. When people realize the potential impact that this could have, they want to support and contribute," Richardson added.

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Richardson said the scholarship is specifically open to Black/African Americans residing within the Lewis & Clark Community College School District or campuses. It is available to those who are currently enrolled or plan to enroll in the LC EMT Program. Offered each semester, the scholarship can be combined with other tuition assistance programs to cover the approximately $1,500 tuition per semester.

The requirement for EMT or Paramedic certification for most paid career fire departments in the U.S. has contributed to a disparity in the number of Black/African Americans in the fire service. This scholarship aims to bridge that gap by increasing the percentage of Black/African Americans eligible for hire in the fire service.

Students interested in applying for the Derrick Richardson Scholarship can contact Lewis & Clark Community College at (618) 468-2010 or apply online at https://lc.awardspring.com/Home/Scholarships.

To donate online via PayPal to The Derrick Richardson Scholarship, click https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=5WTM3UCZNGZSS&ssrt=1705154405754. Specify this scholarship in the add special instructions section. Or call the number above. LC Foundation is a 501(c)(3).

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