KENNER, La. -- Ashley Meyn of Kenner has been nominated as an All-Star First Responder in a national contest sponsored by the "America's Most Wanted" television program's web site.
Now, she is seeking community votes to win $10,000 and an weekend at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Challenge.
Meyn's dedication, drive and outstanding service as an emergency medical technician during the days following Hurricane Katrina earned her the nomination. At the time of the storm, Meyn had just begun her freshman year at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and had only nine months of volunteer experience as an EMT.
"I kept hearing the calls on the radio for all medical personal to report to New Orleans," Meyn said. "I felt that I was needed, so I went."
Meyn's parents, Marilyn and Kenny Meyn, were not in favor of their daughter going to New Orleans to help. "Kenny didn't want her to go," Marilyn Meyn said. "I knew there would be no stopping her since she is headstrong like her mother."
Despite her parent's objections and the concerns of others, Meyn left for New Orleans.
"We looked through the stuff we had brought with us and put together a box of nonperishable food and other items she could use," Marilyn Meyn said.
For the next two days she was assigned to the medical site set up near Causeway Boulevard and Interstate 10, where she administered triage and helped maintain organization.
"They kept sending people to the site for evacuation, so it was very hectic," Meyn said. "We just tried to keep everything organized in order to help those who needed medical attention."
After two days of nonstop service, Ashley was relieved of duty and returned to Baton Rouge to sleep and recuperate.
"I was sick because I had not eaten or slept in two days," Meyn said.
Since then, Meyn has almost completed three years of school in the pre-medical program at LSU and has become certified as a paramedic. She plans to work during the summers and part-time during the school year as a paramedic in Baton Rouge.
Meyn's dream of becoming an emergency room physician or a trauma surgeon began in her junior year of high school. After completing two years of classes at Delgado Community College, she received her certification as an EMT two days after her 18th birthday and became the youngest EMT with the New Orleans Health Department.
"I always liked science and wanted to go into medicine," Meyn said. "I looked around and felt that the EMT program was the best overall course to give me exposure to the medical field."
To cast a vote for Meyn in the All-Star First Responder contest, visit www.amw.com. Votes may be cast daily through April 1.
Rosalyn Doyle Eason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 455-5766.