By Donna Parker
Chris Chiara earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Trinity in 2006, but he’s happy now to spend his days hanging off the back of fire engines as a Dallas firefighter-paramedic. Devoted to this important job, Chris also meets monthly with the Dallas Fire Rescue Medical Oversight Board to review current treatment procedures and develop new policy for emergency runs. He even traveled to Washington D.C. last October as one of five paramedics from Dallas to offer guidance relating to new CPR guidelines.
When you speak with Chris, you immediately “get” that he is absolutely the person you want in charge when you dial 9-1-1 for help. For starters, he is meticulous about everything, including how his fire company’s ambulances are set up so that when the time comes that they’re under pressure and in a hurry—they’re ready.
“The guys laugh at me,” says Chris. “I’ll go 90 miles an hour making sure things are squared away. If we catch a run and I haven’t had a chance to set it up the way I want, it drives me crazy.”
The management degree is an added benefit to getting the job done and that background was actually created during his Trinity days.
“I approached Dr. Richard Burr, department of business administration, and asked permission to set up an internship with the Kirby Fire Department where I had been doing volunteer work. We hand built an internship and I worked side by side with the Kirby department. Because I was a business major, I worked in the billing and Medicare/Medicaid department, uniquely preparing me for what I’m doing now.”
“I went to Trinity intending to pursue pre-med and knew then that I couldn’t do 12-hour shifts in hospitals. It was when I rode with the San Antonio Fire Department that I first entertained this as a career field. People had always said it’s not a good enough living, but our pension is second to none and being on 24 hours and off 48, gives me time to enjoy my hobbies. Quite simply, my life works,” states Chris.
“Because I serve on these boards, I’m required to interact with doctors and public health officials. My public speaking and leadership training from Trinity has made it easy for me to walk into these meetings and articulate my points in debates with physicians and politicians.”
It also came in handy for Chris when he co-presented at the 2010 EMS State Conference in Austin, speaking on new techniques on safely treating patients without unnecessarily transporting them to the ER. He continues to work on a two-year initiative to develop countywide assessment, treatment, and transport protocols of all heart attack patients in his county, some of which is bound for national policy.
Although an admitted “Type A” personality, Chris finds time to have fun, mostly with co-workers whom he calls his second family. He plays tennis and mountain bikes with colleagues, and all company paramedics go on fall and spring camping trips with their families.
Chris is married to Michelle Cox ’07, whom he met in his junior year at Trinity. She was a fellow RA, but they met through a church youth program for which they both volunteered. They married in 2008 and love playing with their dog, a Koren Jindo.
Life is good and life is full, but Chris—ever looking ahead—would one day like to become the fire chief.
“I don’t want to hang off the back of the fire engine forever,” he laughs.
With his high energy and focused work passion, you get the idea that what Chris aspires to be…will be.
You may contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions. We are looking for suggestions in these four categories: 1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator