Essential Alumni

A weekly feature from Rhodri Samuel
Mr. Samuel keeps up with alumni all over the globe. In recent weeks, he has been reaching out in particular to our graduates working in jobs that are deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently heard from Andrew Buchanan ’01 (Copeman’s), who works as a firefighter/paramedic in the Edmonton area.

After graduating from Shawnigan in ’01, I went on to receive two university degrees at the University of Alberta. I completed a Bachelor of Education as well as a Bachelor of Physical Education. I ran nationally recognized hockey and lacrosse academies for several years until I started my career in emergency services.

I currently work as a firefighter/paramedic for Strathcona County Emergency Services just east of Edmonton. I also work as a critical care paramedic in the aeromedical field including Stars Air Ambulance and Alberta Air Ambulance. Working alongside some of the best ICU doctors and nurses has been an amazing experience and helped improve my own clinical practice tremendously.

Working on the frontline during this time has been stressful to say the least! COVID-19 has brought many challenges to our profession that we have not previously experienced before. During these stressful times, we are actually seeing a sharp increase in mental health-related calls over actual COVID-19 calls. It is extremely important to take care of not only your physical health during this pandemic but also your mental health!

Thank you to everyone who is helping to flatten the curve. Speaking on behalf of other first responders, we have felt incredible support from our communities during these trying times.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Check in with your family members and friends. I hope you are all doing well wherever your road has led you. 
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent boarding school for Grades 8-12 on Canada's West Coast. Our modern, diverse and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.