Meet Amir Louka, Volunteer EMT-B and Medical Student at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Class of 2014.
 How long have you volunteered with the Courthouse Volunteer Rescue Squad, known in the VB-EMS Family as Rescue 5?
After graduating with a BA from William and Mary in May, 2009, I joined the August EMT-B training class and signed on with rescue 5. I have been released as an Attendant In Charge since February or March of 2010. I still run regular duties and try to pick up additional shifts whenever possible as the experience is an invaluable and unique part of my medical education.
 Any previous volunteer fire/EMS service prior to Virginia Beach?
 Why did you become a volunteer?
During my senior year of high school, I ran a few observer duties at R5 with some friends from work. Our first call was a cardiac arrest and I realized that in the worst moment of that family’s existence, they had called for our help, allowed us into their home, and trusted us with the care of their husband and father. I realized that volunteering in EMS is one way to truly make a difference in the lives of others. Now that I regularly provide that care, I know that it is one of the most rewarding things I can do. Furthermore, the experience of treating patients and being responsible for decisions made about their care has prepared me well for the career path I have chosen.
 What do you like about volunteering?
I enjoy the excitement and responsibility, as well as the uniqueness of the situations in which I so often find myself while on duty. I am proud to be good at what I do and able to help those in need. I also particularly appreciate the hands on experience of caring for patients of all possible types, whether ill or injured, old or young.
(5) When did you decide to become a doctor and did your volunteer time influence you in making this decision.
I earned my undergraduate degree in political science and hoped to find a job at the United Nations or a non-governmental organization working to improve lives around the world. However, after a semester studying abroad in Cairo, Egypt, I realized I would be more able to alleviate suffering one on one as a physician. I volunteered after that decision had been made, but my time with VB EMS has certainly proven to me many times over that I made the right decision.
 Any words of wisdom for new volunteers?
Don’t be afraid to take the lead. There will always be help right beside you if you need it, so step forward and learn by doing.
 Are you going to specialize in emergency medicine?
I have found that I have a particular interest in the care of trauma patients, so I look forward to a career in trauma surgery.