First Cass Explorers Unit graduates

Published 1:29 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS -- A former Eagle Scout had a dream which became a reality with the graduation of the first Explorer Unit recently at the Penn Friends Church in Cassopolis. The Explorer Troop which trained with the Cass Area Ambulance Service, was made up of teens from Cassopolis and Edwardsburg.
Doug Michels, along with Robert Eisenhart, came up with the idea of forming an Explorer Unit while at the Cass County Fair. The students were trained to perform CPR and basic first aid, to help out at the fair under the supervision of the Emergency Management team.
Michels extensive background in scouting had been beneficial in setting up the troop.
In Dowagiac, Michels began as a Cub Scout when he was eight years old. He earned the highest rank of Arrow of Light before moving on up the ranks, becoming an Eagle Scout and a senior Boy Scout. He is still active in Scouts, and helps the younger scouts as a merit badge counselor.
Unlike the Boy Scouts, the Explorer's uniform are polo shirts with Cass Ambulance embroidered on one side and Explorer Unit 112 on the other, with the standard EMT black pants.
The group range in age from 14 through 20, some who are seeking a career in this certain area. At 18, after passing the First Responder program, they can actually work toward a license and apply to be full or part-time employees of an ambulance service, Michels said.
Michels, the unit advisor helped train the young people who received CPR certificates to learn emergency actions, from basic to advanced first aid.
After Michaels first spoke at Ross Beatty High School and the Edward Lowe Council on Aging in Cassopolis, he had eight students interested in joining. One, Devin Cartwright of Vandalia, was working on his Eagle Scout at that time. Nine ended up graduating.
The Explorer of the Year went to Julie Nelson of Cassopolis. She is the daughter of Carol Kline of Cassopolis and John Nelson of Cassopolis. She just graduated from Ross Beatty High School and intends to continue her education in the nursing program at Southwestern Michigan College. She won the award for her "performance and attitude," said Michels. It seemed every time she rode along with the Ambulance Service, an Air Care helicopter flight was necessary, he added. She was very professional and helpful.
Other graduates along with Cartwright and Nelson included: Elissa Gray and Lucas Hughes of Edwardsburg; and Hannah Kearby, Schyler Hebron, Ruth Wright, Jennifer Goins, and Tammy Whipple, all of Cassopolis.