Practical Nursing graduate receives Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal

Honorary Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer (left) and Rebecca Thomas-Lorenzon at the awards ceremony in Windsor.

Rebecca Thomas-Lorenzon may be a recent graduate, but the Class of 2019 alumna has already made a huge mark as a medical professional with more than 20 years of exceptional service.

Rebecca was recently honoured with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal from Northumberland County Council. This award recognizes paramedics who have provided pre-hospital emergency medical services in good conduct, industry and efficiency for 20 years or more, serving at least 10 years of street level or air duty involving potential risk.

“I felt very honored to receive the Governor General award, especially being a female,” said Rebecca. “I am the first female working on the road in Northumberland County to receive this award. So many women leave the road to pursue management or teaching and other [jobs] for personal reasons; not many stay on the road 10 years, let alone 23 years.”

Rebecca (right) with her aunt Sharon, who received this award years prior and is retired after 35 years in Waterloo region. Sharon is Rebecca’s role model, along with Fleming faculty member Mary Osinga. “Both are strong female paramedics that have forged the way for other women in the profession,” said Rebecca.

While serving as a first responder with Northumberland Paramedics, Rebecca also decided to go back to school, hoping to increase her career opportunities in the medical field.

“I knew I did not want to go into management,” Rebecca shared. “I took the Practical Nursing course as part of a childhood dream to become a nurse and my desire to do more international work.”

Rebecca chose Fleming College because of its proximity, which made balancing school with her full-time career and personal responsibilities (Rebecca is a mom and wife) more manageable. She chose the Practical Nursing program after speaking with nurses, who recommended this program for the hands-on skills she would gain.

“I developed very good time management skills which helped me get through the past two years,” Rebecca shared about her Fleming experience. “I have a better insight into the healthcare system and healthcare in general, which I hope will be an advantage for me when pursuing the Community Paramedic role coming in 2020 in Northumberland County.”

Rebecca said she is especially grateful for Career Services at Fleming College, which helped Rebecca update her resume and cover letter for employment as an RPN. She is currently working part-time at Northumberland Hills Hospital and says, “I suggest this amazing service to all Fleming students (young and old) and it is free!”

The Fleming graduate has no plans to slow down with her career or her education journey, as one of the quotes she lives by is “End is not the end. E.N.D. means Effort Never Dies.” Her next goal is to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.