Student safety first. It’s a call answered by Clemson Fire and EMS every day, but it was a group of students who first wanted safety ensured.
In the late 1970s Johannes Huber was part of the core group that formed an EMS club on campus. Through training from the Pickens County EMS, Huber and his friends aided students with everything from helping when a Homecoming float turned over and injured a dozen people to providing aid to heart attack victims. “We were really taken in by the student body,” said Huber.
Within a year, they were already seeking funds for an ambulance to have proper transportation for runs. Within Huber’s three years at Clemson, his team was completing up to 150 runs a year, with the backup of Clemson’s fire department.
Huber’s interest in medicine and helping people goes back to his childhood in Germany, when he would bandage local bikers. “Medicine was always my gift,” he said. Grades though, not so much.
A letter from a pen pal from Pennsylvania mentioned Clemson University. Knowing he needed to improve his grades to get into medical school, Huber thought studying abroad would be good for him. So to the hills of South Carolina he went. “It’s just this beautiful town in the countryside with rolling hills and open to an orange and white heaven,” he said with a laugh.
Twice a week he wrote home. Once a month he’d call so his family could hear his voice at $10 a minute. But as an older biochemistry student at age 21, he was looking for more than football games and fraternities to fill his time. “Implementing something new gives you so much energy,” said Huber.“I couldn’t go home on weekends, so I stayed and learned [medicine] through experience.” Huber finally did get into medical school in Germany and returned home for training in general, plastic and microscopy surgery. Now he oversees a staff of about 25 nurses and clocks more than 70 hours a week.
“I’ve been back [to Clemson] several times. … It’s always a homecoming for me,” he said. “I’m just amazed at all the construction, and that spirit is still ever present.” On every return trip he drops by the Clemson Fire and EMS. “College life offers you an opportunity for friendship, and I was very fortunate to be in a position to do that.”