presented their 2011 President’s Volunteer Service Awards on Tuesday evening. Among the 17 award winners was Kimberly Pangilinan.
The President’s Volunteer Service Awards were started in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration. Their purpose is a way to thank and honor Americans who engage in community service and to encourage more Americans to get involved. Awards are given out by the calendar year, so for the 2011 award anything from January – December 2011 is valid. The Seton Hall Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a National Service Fraternity, became a certifying organization in 2009 and is able to recognize Seton Hall community members with the award.
Pangilinan, a Seton Hall senior set to graduate in May, joined the Rescue Squad in August 2010. The Bayonne resident is on pace to earn a degree as a nursing major with a goal to pursue emergency medicine. The squad seemed like a natural fit for her desired career path.
“I decided to join (the squad) because I always wanted to be an EMT and just never really had the motivation and time to pursue it, but I did my research and since the squad was such a convenient travel considering I live in South Orange for most of the year, I joined,” Pangilinan told Patch. “It was a great way to gain experience and to learn the ropes of EMS.”
Pangilinan has been serving the town every Monday night for some time now. Rescue Squad shifts typically last 12-14 hours, meaning that Pangilinan usually gave over 50 hours a month of her time to South Orange.
“It is such a privileged to be recognized by my school for the service I've done for the town, especially since a great fraction of our calls are from Seton Hall,” said Pangilinan. “In the past 4 years, I have learned to consider South Orange my home and volunteering to the town every Monday has become a part of my routine…and my Monday crew has become my family away from home. To be honored for doing something I thoroughly enjoy makes the award ten times more valuable to me.”
With graduation approaching, Pangilinan is in the latest group of students looking towards the future. She says she would like to continue volunteering for the squad, but it all depends on the job market and where she can best further her career.
“If I find a job nearby, I will try to continue to volunteer,” Pangilinan said. “But it really will be very sad to leave because everyone has been so great and I have met so many wonderful people and learned a great deal from every single one of them.”
While she has the unique distinction as a President’s Volunteer Service Award winner, the distinction of being a member of the South Orange Rescue Squad is just as important to Pangilinan.
“I am just a mere representation of the squad,” she said. “The year and a half that I have spent volunteering is just a fraction of what a lot of the members have put in. This squad is one of the highlights of my college career, the true honor is really being in such great company and being surrounded with people with such passion for service that you can't help but be inspired and do your part.”