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Paramedicine, Electrical Engineering grads earn Lt.-Gov.’s Medals for Proficiency

January 29, 2019

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who’ll receive their awards as part of our 2019 Winter Convocation ceremonies on Feb. 6 at the Centennial Concert Hall.

Each year, up to four Lt.-Gov.’s Medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

RRC graduate Grace HartGrace Hart — A graduate of RRC’s Paramedicine — Primary Care Paramedicine program, Grace Hart is a big proponent of paying it forward.

Now 24, Hart grew up in Winnipeg, graduating from Fort Richmond Collegiate in 2012. She spent her childhood living in poverty, finding support through the charitable services of such organizations as Winnipeg Harvest, the Christmas Cheer Board and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Winnipeg.

“I was 12 or 13 and my bed just broke in half, so I was on the floor with an air mattress for about two months. We found out about Hands of Hope and got a bed through them,” Hart says.

“As soon as I got into junior high, I got involved with a philanthropy group and did a lot of volunteering. When I finished high school and started university, I got into Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg, and because I had a car, I started delivering for the Christmas Cheer Board.”

With a strong desire to help people, Hart entered the Nursing program at the University of Manitoba. However, an extended hospital stay put her on a different path.

“I had my own medical issue with my lung and I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, before they finally decided to do surgery and remove part of my lung,” she says.

“During those three weeks something hit me and I decided nursing was not the thing I wanted to do, so I registered for the (Primary Care Paramedicine) program from my hospital bed. There was a wait for it, so I spent a year doing as many pre-courses that I could to get into the program. Then I moved to Brandon and took the program there.”

Hart is currently working in Brandon as an emergency medical technician (EMT). She says the field placement portion of the Paramedicine program — which found her working at the Brandon Regional Hospital and with Brandon Fire and Emergency Services — was an especially valuable experience.

“I took away more than just course-related material and experience,” she says of her time at RRC. “I was able to learn so much about myself from the instructors — and each one of them, in some way, helped me become a better person.”

Hart has also volunteered her time to Winnipeg Harvest, Siloam Mission, Manitoba SwimAbility, the Winnipeg Football Club and the Manitoba Lung Association’s Amazing Race for Breath.

Udesha Wickramasinghe

Udesha Wickramasinghe — A graduate of RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program, Udesha Wickramasinghe is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Originally from Galle, a city on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, Udesha came to the College with earlier electrical experience, already holding a diploma in electronic and telecommunications from the University of Moratuwa.

Prior to returning to school, Udesha was also a research and development lab technician at Price Industries in Winnipeg, where he designed electrical control schematics and mechanical parts for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) prototype units.

With his impressive knowledge of power, the 37-year-old took it upon himself to provide academic support to his classmates.

“When I started my first year, I saw there were some students that were struggling. I told them I could help them, and willingly — I didn’t want anything out of it” Udesha says.

“If I have time, I’m always willing to help. It polished my knowledge as well. Doing something I already know is good for me as an individual, too.”

When he’s not helping classmates, Udesha is busy serving his community. He and his wife and seven-year-old son are members of the Manitoba Buddhist Vihara and Cultural Association (MBVCA) and its Dhamma School, as well the Sri Lankan Association of Manitoba (SLAM).

In addition to volunteering and raising funds for MBVCA and SLAM, Udesha offers up his electrical expertise.

“We have a Sri Lanka New Year cultural show at Canad Inns on Pembina and I normally do all the lighting work,” says Udeshea, who recently completed an electrical engineering technology internship at Manitoba Hydro.

“Sri Lanka New Year always comes between April 15 and 22, so it has fallen on the Saturday before my final exams. But even then, I did my best to do it for my family and community.

“I don’t have any relatives here, it’s just my [wife and son] and some friends. My community has become my relatives, so I do as much as I can.”