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Northern Michigan Fire Captain Goes Back to School to Become A Paramedic

Captain Allen Ballard from the Frederic Township Fire Department is turning in his fire gear in exchange for books and paper to further his education.

“I’ve always wanted to be a paramedic. I just didn’t think I had it in me. But other people believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” said Ballard.

Ballard said he was ready to put himself to the test.


“When I was in my twenties, I went to school, and I never finished college. And so, this challenge for me was something that I wanted to prove myself. But it’s something that we need within the within the country,” said Ballard.

Ballard said to become a paramedic you need to go through an accredited college.

“Two years ago, I decided that we needed more paramedics, Across the nation, there’s a shortage. And me being in my fifties, this was a natural progression for me because I became a basic EMT, basic with Michigan in 2017,” he said.

North Central Michigan College out of Petoskey has a program that he’s able to take advantage of.


That coupled with a state scholarship called ‘Future Frontliners’, Ballard said was the only way he was able to make it work.

“Without those, I could not have done it. I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for it. I didn’t come out of this with student debt. They helped me get that financial security,” said Ballard.

But it’s not just the financial support that’s helping him.

“My township board, the supervisor, once again my chief, my captains, my partners, my other people that I work with. They kept encouraging. They believed in me when I was thinking, I don’t think I can do this,” said Ballard.


Ballard says he hopes to pay it forward.

“They encouraged me. And that’s what I want to do with other people. I want to encourage them that I believe in them. And they can do the same thing. Never stop learning. Never quit,” said Ballard.

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