Already balancing work as a critical care technician in the Benefis Emergency Department with finishing her studies to become a paramedic, Grace Hicks of Simms then lost her father-in-law in an accident.
This year, Grace, who also helps her husband hold the family ranch together, received the Ed and Ethel Ugrin Memorial Scholarship, a lifeline helping her through a challenging time.
“It means throughout the semester, I can have a bit more time to study and be at home to take a breath and be with my husband,” she said. “I’m very grateful. It makes a huge impact on my life.”
In 2021, Benefis Foundation donors awarded $112,900 in healthcare scholarships to 50 Montana college students for the 2021-2022 school year.
Benefis Foundation scholarship applications are due June 1 annually. You can start applying now. Click here for more information.
Grace was a teenager when her youngest brother, then 6, was struck by a car and dragged across 60 feet of pavement. He survived with minimal long-term effects, but the accident changed Grace’s future.
“In that terrifying situation I never forgot how caring and compassionate the paramedics were to my family and how they cared for my brother so efficiently,” she said. “I remember thinking it took an incredible person to show up to a situation like that and remain calm and competent. A person willing to scoop a bleeding child off the pavement and know what to do with them was someone to look up to.”
From that point on, Grace knew she wanted to be a paramedic.
She’s working toward her career in the ED. Since her first shift four years ago, she has been in love with the fast pace, critical thinking, variety, and the need for people like her. She also works on an ambulance.
“We see people on their worst days so even the smallest things we do can make a huge difference,” she said. “I’m proud to work here.”