KOKOMO, Ind. — A paramedic science instructor at Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region is being recognized across the state for his excellence in teaching. Noblesville resident John Chalfin, a paramedic science instructor, was recently presented the David J. Edwards Memorial Award Primary Instructor of the Year at the 2011 Indiana Emergency Response Conference award’s program on Aug. 19 in Indianapolis.
“Oh my gosh,” laughed Chalfin when asked what his first reaction was to winning the award. “It’s the highest recognition you can get in our end of the business as an EMS educator. It was quite an honor,” said Chalfin.
Chalfin was notified two weeks before the conference that he was a nominee. A request for nominations was published online prior to the conference, in which Chalfin received three. The award is named after Lawrence Township firefighter David J. Edwards who lost his life in a house fire on Feb. 3, 1988. Edwards was also a primary instructor and actively involved in EMS education.
“Having been on that department, it was kind of special to receive an award that was named for a former member,” said Chalfin.
Eligible instructors must be licensed through the state of Indiana in order to teach as a primary instructor, a process Chalfin went through years ago. Winners can only win once and are chosen by a selection committee. Exactly how many people Chalfin was up against for the award wasn’t available since the number isn’t released. He says he became a part of the paramedic field years ago because he simply wanted to do something to help people.
“I can’t think of a better way than paramedic. There are two times in your life that you really need help. If you’re injured, or when someone in your family passes, I don’t care how schooled you are or how prepared you are, no one is prepared for that. It’s a time of panic. If I can help someone through that period, I feel I’ve really contributed something as a paramedic and in my role as deputy coroner in Hamilton County. I can help people in either of those situations,” said Chalfin.
Chalfin has been teaching off and on since the 1970s and began instructing in the United States Navy. Chalfin’s grandfather was also a teacher. To this day he still lives by a motto his grandfather taught him years ago.
“He used to tell me ‘The measure of a man is not the stack of money he stands on or the possessions he has, it’s how people remember you and what contribution you’ve made to society.’ I truthfully believe that. If I can teach kids or adults to transition from maybe a lost job or to a career they have always wanted, and if they in turn go out and save lives, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something,” said Chalfin.
To be considered for the award, candidates must be actively involved in EMS education and be certified by the EMS Commission as a primary instructor. Candidates are chosen on their eagerness to not only teach, but to also learn. A person is also chosen based on how active he or she is in their community and his or her involvement in public education and public service.
Earlier this year, Chalfin’s paramedic science program at Ivy Tech, in partnership with Riverview Hospital, received Indiana’s Excellence in Education award signed by Governor Mitch Daniels. Chalfin was also presented this year with Ivy Tech Community College’s President’s Award for Excellence in Instruction, an award presented annually to a faculty member from each of Ivy Tech’s 14 regions. Out of the 14 regions, one of the nominees is then awarded the Glenn W. Sample Award for Excellence in Instruction, which Chalfin also received this year.