FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — It was just one night that changed Fairfax County resident Jessica Almquist’s entire life, and ultimately, her career path.
“I wanted to be there for somebody’s worst moment,” said Almquist.
“That moment” can range from a fire to a mental breakdown — but for Almquist, her moment was a car accident caused by a drunk driver in her junior year of high school, that caused a severe brain injury.
“I had aspirations to go to NYU and be a dancer, and then that happened and I couldn’t walk,” she said.
After 11 days in the ICU and a long road of physical therapy, Almquist decided she wanted to give back to the community, just as the paramedics had for her the night of her crash. Now, she serves as a technician and paramedic for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
“She’s very patient-focused, definitely does care, she takes time out and talks to the patients and shares life experiences and stories with them,” said Garrett Irving, colleague, and firefighter for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
Recently a new mom, Almquist is learning to balance family life with continuing to save lives — because helping people, she says, is worth the challenge.
“That’s the best feeling ever. I actually have all the cards still from the patients that come by the station, I keep them on my fridge and that’s a good reminder of what I’m doing this for,” she said.