By Holly Desrosier
In 1990, 18-year-old Chris Hudson had his life together. He had recently secured a promising job with Amital Spinning Corporation just two months after becoming a certified emergency medical technician (EMT) at Craven Community College (Craven CC) and was excited to see what his future had in store.
Hudson’s desire to help people was ignited when he was 17. His interest was piqued after his cousin, who lived next door and worked as an EMT, told him stories about being on the job.
“I would talk to him from time to time, and he would tell me about the exciting things he saw and did as an EMT,” Hudson said. “I was impressed by this. Although at that time the sight of blood didn’t sit well with me, I pushed myself to see what this ‘going fast in an ambulance down the road’ was all about.”
After passing the state exam to become a certified EMT, Hudson started volunteering with Vanceboro Rescue Squad. Around the same time, he began his career at Amital as a material handler. He was constantly on the go and trying to juggle both jobs, but earning a living while being able to do something he was passionate about was worth it for him.
“I responded as a volunteer in the daytime with Vanceboro Rescue Squad while working the night shift at Amital Spinning,” said Hudson. “Needless to say, I went to work some nights feeling tired due to answering calls during the day. I believe the adrenaline is what kept me going.”
Hudson quickly worked his way up the ranks at Amital, becoming an operator and then a mechanic before being promoted to shift manager. That success continued through 2007, when Hudson received word from his employer that the company would be going out of business due to foreign trade competition from China. After a stable 17-year career, he was suddenly faced with a future of uncertainty.
However, Amital informed Hudson that he was eligible to attend training for a new career. Since he only had a high school diploma, he considered it an opportunity of a lifetime and knew right away where he wanted to be trained.
“I decided to receive my training from Craven Community College based on my experience from the training I received as an EMT,” he said. “I enjoyed pre-hospital emergency medicine so much I continued my education as a volunteer EMT, advancing to the intermediate level and ultimately as a paramedic.”
Hudson decided to take his knowledge and experience in the medical field to the next level by teaching Advanced Life Support Skills from August 2007 until April 2010.
“Craven Community College has always done an outstanding job in curriculum development and training,” he said. “That alone inspired me to become a part-time instructor with the college during my EMT days.”
After earning all of his EMT certifications through Craven CC’s Workforce Development (formerly known as Continuing Education) department, Hudson completed his associate degree in applied science, nursing. He was pinned in December 2008, followed by graduation in June 2009.
He said he is proud to share with everyone that Craven CC is the school he attended to receive his training as a nurse, and has friends who finished the nursing program with a similarly positive experience.
“Craven Community College is the cornerstone of my nursing education,” said Hudson.
He went on to join Coastal Carolina Health Care (CCHC) New Bern Family Practice and Urgent Care Center in May 2010. He started as a nurse in urgent care and advanced to nurse manager as of August 2011, where he still works today.
Now age 46, Hudson has been happily married to his wife, Amy, for 21 years. They have three children: Christopher, 13; Adrianna, 10; and Brayden, 5. He and his wife adopted Adrianna and Brayden in 2016.
Although his school days are over, Hudson has fond memories of attending and teaching at Craven CC. He recognizes the college as the stepping-stone that allowed him to achieve his career goals.
“I am in my position today because of Craven Community College,” said Hudson. “It provided knowledgeable and experienced nursing staff, facilities and the support I needed as a student returning to the classroom after nearly 17 years of graduating high school.”
Hudson hopes his story will encourage others to pursue their educational goals and join the Craven CC family.
“I would highly recommend Craven Community College to anyone seeking higher education that will benefit themselves as well as the community,” he said. “I am proud to return the knowledge and skills I developed as a Craven CC student to my community and fellow man.”
For those interested in starting their own academic journey, registration is now open for the fall semester through Aug. 16. EMT classes are also offered by the college’s Workforce Development program throughout the year. For more information on educational opportunities available at Craven CC, visit www.cravencc.edu, call 252-638-7200 to reach the New Bern campus, or call 444-6005 for the Havelock campus.