GODFREY – To most people, the connection between Lewis and Clark Community College and a veterans’ organization may not be obvious, but veteran and student Matt Tracy not only bridges the gap, he does so to the benefit of both.
Originally from Aledo, Illinois, Tracy and his wife moved to the Riverbend area in 2016. Already an EMT, he decided to upgrade his certification to paramedic and chose to do it at Lewis and Clark. He’s on track to complete the Paramedicine program and graduate in May 2019.
Tracy, who works as an EMT at Alton Memorial Hospital, hopes to complete his Associate in Applied Science, then pursue a Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Science.
“I was already in the EMS field, so onward to the next certification,” Tracy said. “Eventually, I’d like to manage an EMS service or become a flight paramedic.”
Although, Tracy has chosen a medical field as his future, his background includes service as an infantry machine gunner with the U.S. Marine Corps, in which he served from 2006-2010. He served in Iraq from 2007-2008, before being deployed to Helmand Provence, Afghanistan, in 2009.
Tracy reached the rank of Lance Corporal and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with a combat V for Valor in Afghanistan.
Tracy’s association with the VFW began back in 2008.
“Up home, at VFW Post 1571, I was the commander,” Tracy said. “Since moving down here, I now hold the office of surgeon at VFW Post 1308.”
Tracy remains a member of his hometown Legion Post 121. He has also served as the human resources officer of the U.S. Veterans Foundation in Madison County.
“Matt’s work ethic and commitment to issues affecting veterans are an example for other veteran students to follow,” L&C Veterans Services Director Terry Lane said. “He has helped keep the L&C Vets Club an active campus organization.”
According to Lane, Tracy keeps his commitment to veteran issues when he is not on campus by actively supporting the efforts of the VFW and American Legion to help veterans and their families.
“He is very proud of his service in the U.S. Marines,” Lane said.
Among the collaborations between the L&C Veterans Club and the VFW are assisting student veterans, helping members get on Honor Flights to Washington D.C., and organizing a 9/11 tribute and fundraiser that supports the L&C EMT/paramedicine, fire science and criminal justice programs.
Tracy’s cooperative nature and goal-oriented attitude fit in well with L&C’s Paramedicine program.
“It has a lot of one-on-one, as well as group-oriented, communication,” Tracy said. “The personable instructors and the in-depth way the information is presented gets you ready to take the national exam as soon as you finish.”
For more information about L&C’s Veteran Services, visit www.lc.edu/veterans.
For more information about L&C’s Paramedicine and EMT program, visit www.lc.edu/program/paramedicine.