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For Immediate Release


Johnson Awarded Gabriel Memorial (EMS) Scholarship

Jessalyn Johnson, a Catawba Valley Community College student enrolled in the Emergency Medical Science (Paramedic) program, was awarded the Stephanie Lynn Gabriel Memorial Scholarship established through the CVCC Foundation, Inc.

CVCC President Garrett D. Hinshaw thanked Mr. and Mrs. Orr for their generosity. He stated how their support has and continues to allow the success of EMS students.

Johnson recently earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she completed a 340-hour internship at Frye Regional Medical Center’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation.

While earning her EMT-Basic certification during the summer at CVCC, Johnson discovered her passion for the paramedic field.

“Emergency medicine is more than a career for me,” said Johnson. “I feel like it is more of a way of life. I want to be able to help people in their time of need.”

Johnson became a member of the Claremont Rescue Squad more than a year ago while completing her bachelor’s degree. Claremont Rescue Squad Chief Eric Jones was impressed with her performance on the squad as she added various rescue certifications to her resume while also completing her college degree. A resident of Vale, she is a member of the Epsilon Sigma Pi EMS society at CVCC.

“It is refreshing to see a young person come into this field and be as excited about it as Jessalyn,” said Jones. “She will be a great asset wherever she is hired to work as an EMT-P.”

The Stephanie Lynn Gabriel Memorial Scholarship was established as a memorial by her parents, Johnette and David Orr. A 1996 graduate of CVCC’s Emergency Medical Science program, Stephanie performed her duties as a paramedic in an outstanding manner until her untimely death in 2010.  Mr. and Mrs. Orr’s intention is to provide individuals with financial assistance in pursuit of the profession that their daughter truly loved, and in which she took great pleasure and pride. They recently visited the campus to have lunch with scholarship recipients, EMS faculty, and CVCC administrators.

Gabriel’s parents stated, “Steph’s decision to obtain an EMS degree was a turning point in her life. She had tried a couple different vocations, but nothing seemed to fit, and she was never satisfied until she discovered EMS.  She was a paramedic for 14 years with Catawba County.  She took great pride in wearing her uniform, and in using her empathy and abilities to help people needing medical assistance. ”

The intent of the scholarship is to cover the student’s educational cost of obtaining an EMS degree.  It will pay for tuition, insurance, fees, books and other items such as uniforms, physical exams and vaccinations as required for enrollment in the EMS program. The maximum award is $8,000 over a two-year period.

The mission of the CVCC Foundation, Inc. is to foster and promote the growth, progress, and welfare of CVCC. For more information on establishing a scholarship or making a gift, contact Teresa Biggs, executive director of the CVCC Foundation, Inc., 828-327-7000, ext. 4288,

Pictured above are (from left) Dr. Garrett D. Hinshaw, CVCC president; Jessalyn Johnson, this year's Stephanie Lynn Gabriel Memorial Scholarship recipient; Johnette and David Orr, parents of Stephanie Lynn Gabriel.


2550 US HIGHWAY 70 SE • HICKORY, NC • 28602-8302 • 828.327.7000
Updated 10.30.2008: Administrator