Grady EMS, The Home Depot Foundation Team Up for Veterans

Instructor Keith Blalock takes the lead on the veterans program.

Instructor Keith Blalock takes the lead on the veterans program.

Grady EMS Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) Asher Wilson has come a long way since his infantry days with the National Guard. In just a couple of years, he has gone from no medical training to his first days in the paramedic program at Grady EMS Academy.

Wilson started the journey on his own, but after being called away twice to fulfill his guardsman duties, he wasn’t sure how he would be able to continue his education.

“I was deployed in Afghanistan when I found out I had been award a scholarship from The Home Depot Foundation to pay for my paramedic training. The timing was amazing – it was the pick-me-up that got me through,” said Wilson.

The Home Depot Foundation’s support of veterans and veteran programs goes back to 2011. EMS Academy launched a program in 2016 designed to help Georgia National Guard medics get the skills and certifications they need to enter the civilian work force. In 2018, the two organizations starting talking about what they could do together to enhance employment opportunities for veterans. The scholarship program is the result.

“It’s fortunate that we have been able to partner with The Home Depot to make this education opportunity available to those who have served our country,” said Dr. Steve Moyers, Grady EMS Academy Dean. “Vets bring commitment to service, discipline, experience, and skillsets to the workplace that make them a great addition.”

EMS Academy recently launched a new marketing campaign to recruit veterans for the scholarship program. And the academy has added an instructor for the program, Keith Blalock – A U.S. Army veteran who ended his active duty service as a special forces medical sergeant in 2000.

For Asher Wilson, being one of three veterans to receive a scholarship so far this year, means more than just making it in the civilian world.

“My training will also allow me to be a medic in the guard. This is all like a dream come true.”