By Guest Contributor: Carolyn Drinkard,Freelance Writer
July 29, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)
It was the school year 2000, and like so many high school seniors, Blake Huggins could not decide what he wanted to do with his life. A gifted musician and artist, he thought that maybe his future might be in the arts, but fate had other plans for Huggins.
During Huggins’s senior year, he joined with other members of the Thomisana Staff to create a school seal for their yearbook. The students wanted something that would be permanent and used to represent the schools in other publications. They planned the seal around four areas of school life: academics, arts, sciences, and athletics, using Greek symbols to represent each area. The staff decided to use the motto that the District had previously been using, so “Enter to learn. Leave to serve” was added. These students also wanted a phrase that represented the spirit of their thirteen years of preparation for life, so they chose the Latin phrase, belle est posse, which translates “To be willing is to be able” or literally “where there is a will, there is a way.” Huggins did the original sketches that went before the School Board for adoption. Ironically, the words on the seal would become a mantra for Huggins’s quest to find himself.
After graduation, Huggins went to the University of Mobile to major in music and graphic arts. But after two years, he felt a desire to do something else with his life. “I realized that my music and my art were hobbies that I enjoyed,” he explained. “They were not my passions.”
Returning home to attend Alabama Southern Community College, Huggins took a friend’s advice and completed a basic EMT course. He then moved to Gulf Shores, working with an ambulance company, serving as a lifeguard, and taking courses from South Alabama for advanced paramedic certification.
After receiving a job offer in Colorado, Huggins packed up and went west. Before beginning the job, however, he and a friend spent a month backpacking through Europe. “This began my obsession with and desire for adventure, traveling, and seeing the world,” he explained.
In 2011, he accepted a job offer to go to Kuwait to serve as an ambulance paramedic on U.S. military bases. He spent a year in Kuwait working and traveling the world as often as his vacation time would allow. “I really enjoyed studying and learning about the Arabic/Middle Eastern culture, and I traveled extensively throughout the region,” he added.
Returning to Colorado, he began studying to obtain the necessary advanced certifications that he would need in order to achieve his goal of becoming a Flight Paramedic. In 2013, he received his Critical Care Paramedic and Flight Paramedic certifications and started working for Angel MedFlight as a Critical Care Flight Paramedic. Angel MedFlight is a fixed-wing, air-ambulance company, transporting patients all over the world on a private jet that is the equivalent of a hospital ICU in the air.
“It is the ideal job for me because it allows me to combine my passion for traveling and adventure with my career in the medical field,” Huggins explained. “Many of our patients become sick or injured while on vacation here in the U.S. or abroad, and they are too sick to travel by commercial airline back home. Our patients are often stuck in third-world countries with a severe injury or illness in a hospital or clinic that has neither the capabilities nor the training to appropriately manage their conditions. These patients are trying desperately to return to the U.S. where they can receive the appropriate, often life-saving, care that they need. That’s where our company comes in. We fly there, pick them up, and bring them back to the states where they can receive the care that they need. It is very rewarding being a part of the process that gets these people back home and back with their families,” added Huggins..
Huggins is quick to express his appreciation for the education he received from Thomasville City Schools. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at TCS. I learned many valuable life lessons, thanks to the great teachers who taught me,” he added. “I was prepared for higher education, and TCS gave me the foundation for reaching my goals in life.”
In 2000, a young artist, etching prophetic words on his school’s seal, could never have imagined the paths he would travel or the heights he would soar to find his life’s mission: to serve others.