Sunday, March 7, 2010

He's active at school, in community

Chester resident Zia Zaidi, a 17-year-old West Morris Mendham High School senior, aims to help the community both in and out of school, by being active in clubs and by volunteering as an emergency medical technician.

At school, he is president of the Future Business Leaders of America Club, or FBLA, and is captain of his fencing team.

"As far as drive goes for doing all these things, I kind of didn't want to get cornered, like feeling like if I was just fencing, then I would just be defined as an athlete," Zaidi says. "Or if I was just the FBLA president, I didn't want to just be cornered into the knowledgeable stereotype."

Zaidi also is involved in a Project Adventure school club, in which he and other seniors help incoming freshmen get a feel for high school.

"I like meeting the new people who come to these clubs and teams," he said. "They have a general passion for the things they do, and I like to work with them."

His EMT duties are performed with the Chester First Aid Squad, working toward his goal of some day being in the health are field. To become certified as an EMT, he completed a 120-hour course and passed a state test included practicals and a written exam.

Zaidi says that he enjoys working as an EMT and being called to duty whenever he's needed. He already has found another benefit of using his training while off-duty.

"I was at a John Hopkins summer program, and on campus, I saw a man keeling over by a telephone pole," Zaidi says. "I asked him what was wrong, and he couldn't really respond. I found a bracelet on his wrist and figured he was a diabetic. . . . I figured that he was hypoglycemic and that he hadn't eaten in a couple days," Zaidi continued, "so I asked him when was the last time that he had eaten, and he managed to struggle out, 'a couple days ago,' just as I thought."

A hospital was nearby, and Zaidi told a friend who accompanied him to get a wheelchair.

"While he was running to get that, I checked the vitals of the man, his respiration rate, his blood pressure, pupil responsiveness and whether he could raise both his arms equilaterally, just to make sure he hadn't fallen or had any trauma to him."

At times like that, Zaidi finds that he likes helping others just for the sake of helping them, and it makes him eager to make helping others his career one day.

"Anything in the health care field, I'll take," Zaidi says about future career goals. "Like, it's not even really about being a doctor, but using my EMT experience to make me a more approachable person in health care."

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