VC students commute from Del Rio for EMT training
Del Rio Four
Victoria College EMT students, from left, Jessica Rangel, Dina Salazar, Jessica Castillo and Jesse Bishop pose for a photo after a recent self-defense class. The four travel the 540-mile round trip weekly from Del Rio to attend classes at VC.

Four Victoria College paramedic students are willing to drive across Texas to finish what they’ve started.

Jesse Bishop, Jessica Castillo, Dina Salazar and Jessica Rangel regularly make the 540-mile roundtrip from Del Rio and back to receive training from Victoria College EMS Coordinator Susie Jechow.

All four began their EMT training under Jechow at Del Rio’s Val Verde Regional Medical Center and decided to continue learning from Jechow when she became VC’s EMS coordinator.

“She left Del Rio, so she abandoned us,” Rangel jokingly said.

“She taught all of us our EMT basics,” Bishop said. “So it was a no-brainer to come finish here.”

“We didn’t even hesitate to make the decision to travel up here,” Salazar said.

Jechow said she often has students from all over South Texas come to Victoria College for EMS/EMT training, but not from as far away as Del Rio.

“Usually, we get students from surrounding counties, San Antonio, Austin and Houston, but not too many people who travel 270 miles each way,” Jechow said.

Castillo, Salazar and Rangel are employed by Val Verde Regional Medical Center EMS and use a company vehicle to travel back and forth. Bishop works for the Del Rio Fire Department and has to use his personal vehicle to make the nine-hour roundtrip.

“I usually leave Del Rio at about 4 a.m.,” Bishop said. “It’s a 4 1/2–hour drive to get here. But it’s all worth it.”

The four are all EMTs and are candidates to graduate in May with their Associate of Applied Science degrees in emergency medical services. In April, their classes will intensify and all four will be making more frequent trips to VC.

“Next month, we will be pretty much living here,” Castillo said. “We will have one week off in April.”

Jechow said she is pleased to help the four students see their training to the end.

“You feel invested with these students,” Jechow said. “You like to see them finish it. They called me and said they had the means to come, so I told them to come up here and finish it.”

For information on EMT and EMS training offered by Victoria College, call (361) 572-6426 or email

Del Rio Four
Jessica Rangel defends against Jesse Bishop during EMT self-defense training recently at VCs Sports Center.
Published: Wednesday, 22 March 2017

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