11 new awards bring fund’s total to 97 scholarships in 13 years

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Eleven new scholarships were awarded this past week by the Christopher Meadows Memorial EMS Education Fund. The fund honors the memory of a local EMT who was killed in the line of duty at Oceano Dunes in May of 2009. This year’s $3,000 paramedic scholarship awardees are Matthew Hallmark from Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Hailey Jameson and Sean Mackle from Sacramento State University, Felicia Pelaez from American River College in Sacramento, and Carlos Rodriguez and Isaiah Woods from Foothill College in Sunnyvale. Matthew Hallmark’s scholarship comes with the special designation “In honor of Betsey Kelton” as a tribute to the former president of San Luis Ambulance and tireless community volunteer who passed away in October, 2021. San Luis Ambulance and the Kelton family have been staunch supporters of the fund since its inception.

The latest recipients of the EMT scholarship are Wyatt Marshall (Cuesta), Damien Torres (Cuesta), Clara Vargas (Cuesta), Daniel Samie (SoCalTraining), and Fils Paul (Santa Rosa).

Students from across Central and Northern California applied for these memorial scholarships, which are awarded annually to EMS workers pursuing paramedic, EMT and related careers. “We had a very deserving group of both paramedic and EMT students this year,” said Tim Meadows, Christopher’s father and interview committee chair. “The selected recipients all exude an exceptional level of both passion and compassion, and they impressed us with their selfless desire to help others in their darkest hour,” added Meadows.

About the Paramedic Scholarship Recipients

Matthew Hallmark — Matthew will attend Cuesta College Paramedic Program which commences in January. He currently works as an EMT in Cambria and is a teaching assistant in the Cuesta College EMT course. His parents are both career EMS workers in San Luis Obispo county, so he comes by this calling naturally.

Hailey Jameson — Hailey’s life and purpose was changed for the good by a horrific traffic accident that she witnessed and provided aid for at the scene. Since that experience, she has found her true calling in EMS. She currently works as an EMT skills instructor at CalRegional and attends the paramedic program at Sacramento State.

Sean Mackle — After graduating from Azusa Pacific University, Sean decided to rededicate his career to EMS. Sean has traveled with Compassion International providing medical aid to disadvantaged youth. His passion is problem-solving and finding ways to leave things better than he found them. Sean is also attending the paramedic program at Sacramento State.

Felicia Pelaez — Felicia saw becoming an EMT as a way to change the trajectory of her life and fell in love with the field of EMS in the process. She is the proud mom of two and juggles works as an EMT for AlphaOne Ambulance while attending the paramedic program at American River College.

Carlos Rodriguez — Carlos is attracted to EMS to be a patient advocate and bridge the gap to the underserved. He sees paramedic as just one step in a career in EMS. Carlos received an AA degree in Psychology from College of Alameda and currently works as an EMT for Falck in Hayward while he attends Foothill College paramedic program.

Isaiah Woods — From teaching Sunday School to working as an EMT for AMR in San Jose, Isaiah has always wanted to help the greater good of his community. Isaiah started college with an AA in Kinesiology, but quickly developed a passion for EMS, and is also attending the Foothill paramedic program.

About the Fund

The Christopher Meadows Memorial EMS Education Fund was established by Taylor Tucker and Heather Tucker, co-workers of Christopher’s at San Luis Ambulance immediately after Christopher’s tragic death on May 24, 2009. He was killed while on duty volunteering at Oceano Dunes for the SLO Sheriffs Department’s Search and Rescue Unit. Christopher had planned to attend paramedic school in the fall of 2009, but never got that opportunity. The fund awards paramedic, EMT, and Advanced EMS scholarships to EMS students. In total, 97 scholarships, amounting to over $230,000 in grants, have been awarded by the fund in its thirteen-year existence.  

The fund is supported by numerous individual contributors as well as through donations and sponsorships from the following organizations: San Luis Ambulance, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, Dignity Health, Central Coast Emergency Physicians, Vituity (CEP America), Cottage Health, Delta Sigma Pi, SLO County Sworn Deputy Sheriffs, and Sun Buggie Fun Rentals.