News

Long-Time Paramedic Pays it Forward

May 11, 2016

A retired paramedic is stepping forward with a gift to the College of Western Idaho (CWI) Foundation. Local business owner Joe Levitch has established a scholarship for students going through CWI’s Paramedic program. Levitch, who worked to save lives for nearly 40 years, says the scholarship is his way of paying it forward.

“This scholarship was a gift to me from my coworkers and (St. Luke’s Health Systems) on my retirement,” Levitch said. “I loved the profession. It shaped me and this is my legacy.”

Levitch started working in emergency medical services right out of high school. He became a paramedic in 1979 after completing his studies at Stanford University Medical Center. He moved to the Treasure Valley a short time later and continued his passion. Along with being a founding member of Saint Alphonsus Life Flight, he also worked for Ada County Paramedics and Air St. Luke’s.

“I like the concept of carrying things on,” he said. “Years ago, I paid for a friend’s paramedic education and he paid me back. I then used that money to pay for another paramedic education and they repaid me again—all the while the account was growing. I have helped very deserving people by loaning money to pay for people to go to school for years. They paid it back and the pot has grown. Now, it fills me up to give money to offset the cost of becoming paramedics.”

The Air St. Luke's/Joe Levitch Pay it Forward Paramedic Scholarship is available to full-time students enrolled in the Paramedic program, offered through CWI’s Workforce Development division. Applicants must be prepared to write an essay.

“For me, this is much more than a money thing,” Levitch said. “I want to be tied to your success and career. It means a lot to me that I am encouraging future generations to be great paramedics.”

The application period for this scholarship is currently open. The deadline to apply is May 31.