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He thought his life walk would involve the priesthood; instead, Jesus Hollins is serving others as an EMT.
By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, firstname.lastname@example.org
He was raised in the Roman Catholic faith and his mother encouraged him to help others. Jesus Hollins thought those two influences were leading him into the priesthood.
“I really felt God was calling me to help people. Later I realized maybe the priesthood wasn’t what he was telling me to do. I think it was more a nudge toward working in the medical field,” said Hollins, 24.
Born in Texas, Hollins moved to Indiana at the age of four. He went on to graduate with Pike High School’s class of 2017, and was raised the middle child of Juan and Esmeralda Rubio. He said it was the death of his beloved grandfather that changed the course of his vocation.
“I was about four days away from taking the psychological test for the priesthood when my grandfather passed. He was the glue that held my family together. He would go up to homeless people and take his shirt off his back and give to them. If he had money, he’d give them money,” said Hollins. “Growing up I learned that I could make someone smile just by talking to them.”
At the time he was already accepted at Marian University intending to study theology. His grief led him to postpone testing for the priesthood.
“I switched to nursing but then dropped out after a year because it was too expensive for my family,” he said. That decision took him on a path to where he is today. He worked while taking courses toward becoming an EMT. In November 2020, he was hired at IU Health LifeLine.
Hollins joins a team that includes professionals experienced in adult and pediatric critical care, and life support. LifeLine provides high quality comprehensive ground and helicopter transportation for various emergencies, life-threatening trauma, and patient moves between facilities and home. The IU Health provider currently has openings for paramedics and EMTs.
Hollins heard about the EMT opening from a friend and jumped at the opportunity to practice his skills.
“I tell people that 20 percent of our job is medical – taking blood pressure, checking the pulse, and making sure the patient is comfortable – and 80 percent is talking to the patient and showing you care,” said Hollins. That’s where he practices his gift of compassion.
Hollins’ shift has him working three days a week, 12-hour days transporting patients to and from home, hospitals, assisted living, and rehabilitation facilities. He travels around the state and has transported as far away as Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. Most of his patients are between the ages of 40 and 60 and have been separated from family members due to the pandemic.
“A lot of people just want to talk about their lives. Sometimes they’ve been in the hospital for weeks and months and have had limited human interaction. The main thing for me is treating them like a human being – the way I’d want my grandfather treated,” said Hollins.
“Jesus is an amazingly positive person that always comes to work with a goal to do his best,” said LifeLine supervisor, Matt Wright. “He’s often early getting to work so he can get his equipment checked and ambulance cleaned. And sometimes just to socialize or study for school. Other team members will specifically ask to be partnered with Jesus because they appreciate the positive energy he puts out in the world.”
Hollins relates two special incidents that he said affirmed his role with EMS.
One involved a patient that he was transporting from Indiana to Kentucky. Nurses had told him the patient was anxious and agitated.
“My first impression was that he didn’t want anyone to talk to him but it was a long ride and little by little he began to open up. As he started unraveling his life, I realized he really just needed someone to listen,” said Hollins.
Another time, Hollins and his partner were returning to Indianapolis after transporting a patient to Muncie. They came up on a vehicle accident and radioed in to notify headquarters that they were the first responders.
“We turned on our sirens and lights and as we walked up we saw little girl with a deep laceration on her forehead. My partner took her to ambulance and I got supplies to assist. She was talking and conscious but nervous,” said Hollins. They transported her IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.
“You never know where you’re going to end up,” said Hollins. “I think that for me, serving others as an EMT is exactly where I am supposed to be.”