Following his high school graduation, Robert Weisbaum did what many high school graduates do: begin his college journey. After only a year-and-a-half, his college journey was cut short.
“A skydiving accident led me towards my path of critical care EMS,” he said.
During his college break, Weisbaum sustained an injury that he thought would be the start of his downfall. On the contrary, this accident was an opportunity to find his true passion, one that would eventually land him back in school with a newfound purpose in life.
“I have always been fascinated with medicine, and the right time and interaction with a first responder led me towards my path of emergency services. I never looked back,” he said. ““After healing, I achieved that goal and was fortunate enough to fly as a flight paramedic. I quickly came to realize the love I had for EMS.”
After years of service as an EMT, Weisbaum enrolled in the fire academy and began to pursue a career in firefighting. This career transition was all about long-term goals and how his EMS experience could be shared in the fire service world.
“I have focused much of my career in EMS and felt it was appropriate and beneficial to me to pursue higher education in fire administration,” he said. “I have such a deep respect for the fire service and EMS that it only seems natural to gain more administrative knowledge that relates to my position.”
Weisbaum, now an EMS and fire chief, says his new career in fire has challenged him to develop into the role of a leader.
“I have continued on full-steam with professional development, leadership training, credentialing and finally finding the right time to complete my college education.”
After 22 years in the job field, Weisbaum enrolled in Columbia Southern University and began pursuing his degree in fire administration just over a year ago.
“Achieving my degree will provide the opportunity to continue my lifelong journey of education while providing me with valuable education that will help me offer more to the emergency services field and our department,” he said.
While it may seem overwhelming to start or return to college as Weisbaum did, he says, for him, knowledge is the true foundation to success.
“For anyone deciding whether or not gaining higher education is important, the answer is absolutely yes,” he said. “Knowledge, drive and the right attitude set us up for success. We are at a time where we need to recognize and develop new leaders who are willing and capable of accepting the challenges we face in emergency services; All this is done through continuous education.”
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