17-year-old medic honored
Rob Colman mixes school, service
By Joe Gould

DANBURY — Rob Colman is like a lot of other 17-year-olds. He hangs out with friends, goes to the movies and likes high school football.

But when Rob’s pager goes off, it’s not because his mother’s looking for him. He’s helping someone with a heart attack, going to a house fire or rushing out to a car wreck.

"I’ll be sitting at a high school football game and I’ll have to leave and my friends say, ‘There he goes again,’” the Brookfield High School senior said.

On Saturday, Colman, a medical response technician with the Candlewood Volunteer Fire Company, was given Danbury Hospital’s "Medical Response Technician of the Year” award, the youngest recipient of any the hospital’s awards this year.

"For a 17-year-old, Rob exhibits incredible respect, poise and professionalism. He has a calm and confident bedside manner towards his patients,” said Lt. Bernie Meehan of the Danbury Fire Department, who nominated Colman for the award.

"I started out at the same age and I see a lot of me in him,” Meehan said.

What makes Colman’s volunteerism extraordinary is the two-fold dearth of volunteers in emergency services and the dearth of young volunteers, Meehan said.

Colman has recruited some friends to the volunteer fire department, and Meehan believes that trend may be in reverse.

"It recent years it fell out of fashion,” Meehan said. "Now it looks like its coming back into favor, we’re looking for youth to fill those roles.”

A year ago, Colman joined the volunteer fire department. Several months later, while out on a minor medical call at which two people had fallen, he decided emergency medical training was for him.

"I went on a call and I liked it so I took the training,” Colman said. "I think it’s fun helping people.”

Colman said he juggled 70 hours of training with his homework, his volunteering at the fire station and his scouting — he recently became an Eagle Scout.

He said the time spent was worth it, and he’s considering taking more advanced emergency medical technician training.

"You’re learning and doing stuff that other people don’t get to do,” Colman said. "It’s exciting.”

Saturday, other awards went to:

  • EMT-Basic of the Year; Tom Hanlon of Newtown Volunteer Ambulance.

    EMT-Intermediate of the Year; Kevin Clyne of Newtown Volunteer Ambulance.

    ŸEMT Educator of the Year; Deb Aubin, Newtown Volunteer Ambulance.


  • Emergency Medical Service of the Year; Brookfield Volunteer Ambulance Service.


  • EMT-Paramedic of the Year; Andrew McGuire of BSI/Danbury Health Systems.


  • Chris Blackwell Dedication to Service Award, the Blackwell family.


    Contact Joe Gould

    at jgould@newstimes.com or at (860) 354-2275.



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