University Relations and Communications

Paramedic student receives memorial scholarship

December 2, 2011



Dr. David Gurchiek, Paramedic Program, 247-3076
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Justin Tinnes, a paramedic student at the Montana State University Billings College of Technology, was recently selected to receive the $500 Renee Johnson Memorial Scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year.


Doug Tinnes and Dr. David Gurchiek

Born and raised in Billings, Tinnes graduated from West High School in 2007. His enrolled at MSU Billings COT fall 2008 and received his AAS degree in fire science December 2010. He soon realized after being hired at American Medical Response that he wanted to become a paramedic so he could “do more for people in emergency situations.” His overall goal is to become a paramedic/firefighter for a major city. He is expected to graduate from the COT with an AAS degree in paramedics in August 2012.


The Renee Johnson Memorial Scholarship was established in 2006 by Lois and Toby Johnson in memory of their daughter, Renee. Johnson completed her AAS degree in paramedics at the MSU Billings COT in 2000. She served as a paramedic for both AirEvac Ambulance Service and Southwest Ambulance Service in Arizona. On Dec. 14, 2004, she lost her life due to a medical helicopter accident while on a paramedic call to help a critically injured patient. 


Through the scholarship, administered by the MSU Billings Foundation, Johnson’s passion for caring for others continues to inspire paramedic students at the College of Technology.


For more information about scholarship opportunities at MSU Billings, call 657-2244. For more information about the paramedic program, contact program director Dr. David Gurchiek at 247-3076.


PHOTO ABOVE: Justin Tinnes, left, and Dr. David Gurchiek, the paramedic program director at the MSU Billings College of Technology, stand with the plaque that honors recipients of the Renee Johnson Memorial Scholarship.