September 26, 2017

Over the last 41 years, East Central College Instructor Lora Copeland has given her expertise on cardiac rhythm interpretation to more than 750 paramedic students.

“She actually helped create what is now the Paramedic Program at the college back in 1976,” said EMS Program Coordinator Tom Fitts, “just two years after receiving her Registered Nurse license!”

During the day, she acts as the critical care manager of the Mercy ICU in Washington. At night, she spends her time in an East Central College classroom. Her dedication to teaching students is remarkable.

“When we decided to offer a day class regarding rhythm interpretation,” said Fitts, “Lora said she ‘probably had enough vacation time’ to take off to teach those classes. I let her know I could not, in good conscience, let her use her vacation time for our students!”

Her lifelong dedication to the classroom is now being recognized at the state level. She was awarded the Jack Lyon Memorial Award by the Missouri EMS Association – presented to an outstanding instructor of an ongoing EMT-B, EMT-P or continuing education program that is accredited by the Missouri Bureau of EMS.

“Lora’s impact on the program has been huge,” said Fitts.  “Students may not know her by name, but they certainly know her by reputation.”

“I was fortunate enough to have Lora as my cardiology instructor when I took my paramedic training at East Central College in 1982,” said Union Ambulance District Chief Ken Koch, “and I still remember the lessons learned.”

This will be Copeland’s last year with the college. She plans to retire from the classroom to spend more time with her grandchildren. It is without a doubt – she’ll be missed.

“Lora’s expertise in the subject matter, as well as her calm, thoughtful demeanor made her a favorite of the students,” said St. Charles County Ambulance District CEO Taz Meyer. “The students always knew they could have confidence in Lora as a trusted resource.”

“I wish that every school had Lora as one of their teachers,” said EMS Adjunct Janet Fitts. “Not only would our cardiac care be better, but our patients would benefit from the compassion she has modeled for all of us.”

She was recently featured in The Missourian for her years of dedication. Read the article.





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