Ask anyone who taught or worked with Metropolitan Community College student Dustin Weedman and the kudos range from “outstanding” to “super.”
Those who have encountered the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program student as he wraps us his final semester at the MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute have nothing but wonderful things to say about him.
It’s Weedman’s caring and thoughtfulness that set him apart and earned him a special thank-you from his fieldwork supervisor at the Liberty School District.
Linda McCormick, who oversees occupational therapy cases for Liberty schools, wrote to MCC that Weedamn “went above and beyond by volunteering to complete a report that needed to be done over a long weekend. He also showed this willingness to go beyond what is expected when he stopped at a wreck that involved a school bus and helped the children off the bus.”
Some 30 students from out of town were in a bus (headed to a basketball game) that was hit head-on in Liberty on Feb. 16. All of the students ended up being OK, but it was a bad wreck. The driver of the car that hit the bus didn’t survive.
That Weedman stopped to help came as no surprise to Amber Jenkins, coordinator of MCC’s OTA program. “He just has that caring nature, always willing to go above and beyond and help whoever needed help,” says Jenkins.
As for Weedman, helping is second nature. “I’ve been helped a lot in my life, and I turn it around and help people myself,” he says.
Jenkins, who received the kudos of Weedman from McCormick, knew she needed to share the praise. “He’s just got a super, down-to-earth, very relatable personality. He makes you feel relaxed and confident in yourself,” Jenkins says.
Weedman returns the sentiment. About his educational journey, he says, “People that I’ve met, I tell my wife they are all just better people than me.”
Weedman, a nontraditional student who lives in Lee’s Summit, was seeking a career change after a successful stint doing inside sales for a freight brokerage company. He stepped back and asked himself, “What’s the thing that I’m good at?”
“Do what you’re already good at — helping people” was his answer. He started looking at health care careers and landed at MCC.
He has been working on his studies for close to four years and graduates in May with his associate degree. “It’s been an awesome experience,” he says.
OTA students at MCC spend their last semester in two eight-week fieldwork assignments, interacting with special needs clients and functioning as real OTAs.
McCormick says that during Weedman’s interactions in Liberty, “he never backed down from any challenge he was given. He did a great job connecting with the students and staff at all the schools where we worked. Several times I had teachers tell me what a great job he was doing.”
MCC’s OTA program is the longest running in the Kansas City area with more than a 30-year history. It boasts a near 100 percent pass rate on the national exam.
McCormick says, “The program does a great job of preparing their students for the jobs they are about to take on. I know I am getting a quality student.”
Weedman says he is a “credit to the people I’ve been able to glean from,” a product of “phenomenal, caring, intelligent people.”
Meanwhile, he is preparing for what is next. “Taking the last final, last semester, and knowing that part is done and it’s paid off . . . that all felt pretty good,” he says.
He will take the boards in June and start applying for jobs soon and is open to working with a variety different types of clients.