March 9, 2023
(L-R): David Blevins, Roane State EMS Program Director; Ginny Cole Davis, WATE-TV’s Living East Tennessee (and a Roane State alum); Amanda and B.J. Hillard with son Finn; and Scott Niermann, Roane State Foundation Executive Director.
A foundation established by the parents of a former Roane State student recently donated $5,000 in support of the community college’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program.
William “B.J.” Hillard and Amanda Hillard said they are honoring the memory of their son, Austin Logan Knight, through the Austin Knight Foundation. Austin was killed in a car crash in 2018, just a month after enrolling in Roane State’s EMT program.
Over the last five years, Austin’s parents have worked to incorporate their late son’s passions with their efforts in the community on behalf of the foundation. As Roane State’s EMS program director David Blevins explained, this also provides them with an opportunity to tell Austin’s story.
“Austin wanted to become an EMT to help others,” Blevins said. “He was committed to his goal of learning to save lives and understood what makes the profession so special, even at such a young age. Seeing his family find new ways to help others in his memory is truly inspiring.”
Austin was posthumously awarded an EMT technical certificate from Roane State and an EMT License from the Tennessee Office of EMS. The donation made by his family earlier this month is the second gift in as many years to the Roane State EMS program. The Austin Knight Foundation also contributed $5,000 to the program last year.
“It continues to be a privilege to work with the Hillard family in honoring Austin’s life,” said Scott Niermann, executive director of the Roane State Foundation. “These funds help support our students and maintain the high quality of EMS education at Roane State.”
Roane State’s EMS program consists of three programs: Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), and Paramedic. These programs are based at the college’s Knox County Center for Health Sciences located at 132 Hayfield Road in West Knoxville. For more information on EMS programs, visit roanestate.edu/EMS.
Founded in 1971, Roane State has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit roanestate.edu or call (865) 882-4554. Eligible adults can attend tuition-free with the Tennessee Reconnect grant. Learn more at roanestate.edu/reconnect.
Roane State Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation that seeks to enhance community awareness of the college, to secure private contributions and bequests, and to manage monies or properties given to the Foundation, including an approximately $12 million endowment. Roane State Foundation supports the college with capital projects, equipment, educational programs, and scholarships. For more information or to make a gift to support Roane State students, visit roanestate.edu/foundation, email Foundationdept@roanestate.edu, or call (865) 882-4507.
Roane State Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ethnicity or national origin, sex, disability, age, status as protected veteran or any other class protected by Federal or State laws and regulation and by Tennessee board of Regents policies with respect to employment, programs, and activities. View full non-discrimination policy.