Alumni in Action: Ben Chilton
Ben Chilton’s hands-on training at CCA gave him all the tools he needed to become a first responder. Now, he serves the Lyons community as a part-time firefighter.
Video by: CCA Dept. of Strategic Communications
Ben Chilton got his start the same way many successful Aurorans do, by enrolling at the Community College of Aurora, and getting his foot in the door of a career that is rewarding and exciting.
When he’s not working at his full time job as an aerospace engineer in Denver, Chilton spends his time as a part-time firefighter with the Lyons Fire Protection District. Firefighting offers him the opportunity to care for his community, and help people when they need it.
In the thick of COVID, Chilton needed a place that would check all the boxes for the training he was looking for. Somewhere he could get hands-on EMT training, that would work with his schedule, and a school that wouldn’t break the bank. CCA offered all three.
After graduating in 2021 with an EMT certificate, he joined the department as a volunteer, and climbed the ranks to join the Lyons crew part time. CCA laid the foundation for his success with its small classes, and focused education.
“Being able to really practice that with the instructors made a world of difference in getting through the national registry exam, and other exams,” Chilton said.
Emergency calls in Lyons usually require less fire fights, than they do high quality healthcare. Chilton says 60% of his calls are EMS related. Firefighters spend much of their time in ambulances, offering patient care.
“At CCA, that’s where I learned all of my patient care. I learned how to be an EMT, how to deal with patients, how to give medications, how to treat injuries and wounds. And everything in between.” Chilton said.
“Every day I go out with the ambulance as part of fighting a fire, I use those skills that I learned at the Community College of Aurora to help people, and get them where they need to go.”
Chilton knows all schools are not created equal. At CCA, he says, class sizes are so small and focused, you get the one-on-one training you might not get at a bigger school. Best of all, he says the tight knit classes offer you networking opportunities that can help carry you through your career.
“Networking with such a small group was great. It was a very community minded program to be a part of.”
He now passes on his advice to people who might be wondering how to kick start their own career, especially for those just starting out.
“Taking a couple of classes could mean the difference between getting an interview, and not getting an interview.”
Chilton understands all too well how some students may not be given opportunities to succeed if not for places like CCA. He puts himself in that category, and says he’s grateful for his time at the school.
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for CCA. I’m very proud to be a CCA alum.”