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Already a certified EMT, Camille Modjeski ventures east to train as a Navy corpsman

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - After completing Navy basic training recent NHS grad Camille Modjeski will begin training in Texas to become a corpsman.

Partway through her junior year at Newberg High School, Camille Modjeski had no idea what she wanted to do for a career. Like many of her classmates, she had a handful of interests – among them participating in theater – but nothing stood out as a potential post-grad plan.

Her sister got into a car accident the summer before and had talked with her extensively about her experience in the ambulance. That inspired Modjeski to pursue her license as an emergency medical technician (EMT), which required a lot of saving money and committing time on top of her already busy schedule.

She took an EMT course at Chemeketa Community College along with her tech work with the NHS theater department, maintaining a "solid" GPA throughout. Then it came time to start thinking about a career.

"I always wanted to do something that had more purpose than just an office job," Modjeski said. "I thought that being a first-responder would be cool, but I'm not brave enough to be a cop or a firefighter. Being an EMT is definitely a good profession, so that's why I started looking into it."

Pursuing that license – and earning it a few months ago – inspired Modjeski even further to look into a career in the medical field. Originally, her plan was to become an EMT as soon as she got her license, and maybe even attend college.

As is often the case for young people, however, her plans changed and she decided she would no longer jump right into being an EMT out of high school, nor would she attend college.

Instead, Modjeski was drawn to serve in the United States Navy. She left on July 29 for Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, north of Chicago, for boot camp.

"It felt like college just wasn't attainable with the amount of funding I had in my life at the time," she said. "I looked into other routes and it was either community college or take a year off, and then I met with people in the military and checked out all four branches and their options. I decided on the Navy because it was the best fit for me."

The military provides an opportunity for Modjeski to get a hands-on education in the medical field as well as future funding for community college along with a handful of other benefits. She will be assisting members of the Navy and Marine Corps in the medical field in a variety of ways.

"To me, my EMT license is a stepping stone at this point," she said. "It will help me in the Navy as far as experience, but I will definitely explore other avenues while I'm there. The job I (will) have in the Navy is hospital corpsman and you get a little bit of everything in the medical field."

Modjeski is in Illinois after a unique road to that point. She was a theater kid who loved her work behind the scenes in the technical parts of the show, then she was an aspiring EMT, and now she is a member of the military. She said she knows this will be the right decision for her future, and she is excited to serve however she can while properly representing her hometown.

Modjeski said she couldn't have come to this decision without help from her family, namely a parent who supported her passions.

"My mom is someone that encourages me and my sisters to go and get life," Modjeski said. "She is so supportive of us and encourages us to be strong, independent people and I think I'm doing that by joining the Navy."

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