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Ebola takes Wake Tech educator back to Africa

Posted October 15, 2014
Updated October 16, 2014

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— Lee Wittman became a paramedic due to his experiences in Africa, and now he’s heading back to the continent to help control an international health crisis.

During the early 1990s, Wittman was working for the Peace Corps in a remote village in Ghana when he contracted malaria and rheumatic fever.

Dangerously ill, he traveled for days to receive treatment.

“It was the only time in my life I thought I was going to die,” he said. “There were people who did not make it because of a lack of emergency services.”

The experience inspired Wittman to become a paramedic once returning to the United States.

Now a paramedic instructor at Wake Technical Community College, Wittman will head to Angola on Thursday, along with three ambulances and medical supplies, to help the country prevent the spread of Ebola within its borders. The country currently does not have any Ebola cases. 

The virus has resulted in nearly 9,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. Angola is not bordered by either of the affected countries.

Wittman will train doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers while in Angola. The trip and the supplies are being paid for by the Angolan government.

Wittman made a similar journey to Ghana in 2007. He plans to use his trip to Angola as a teaching experience for his students.

He sees the journey as a way of giving back for what was given to him more than two decades ago – life-saving expertise.

"I became a paramedic because of my experience in Africa," he said.

18 Comments

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  • Glock07 Oct 16, 2014

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    You assume hatred, when in fact concern for our health would be a more appropriate assumption. This ebola is for real. Ask DALLAS.

  • iopsyc Oct 16, 2014

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    Your opinion on the President is a separate issue from allowing military personnel to opt out of dangerous missions.

    You suggested that they only send volunteers. I am simply saying that is not how it works.

  • Itsmyopinion67 Oct 16, 2014

    Before he goes, he should stop in Atlanta and teach the CDC to prevent the spread of Ebola. They obviously need the help.

  • Terry Watts Oct 16, 2014
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    "Typo takess WRAL Editor back to spellchecker"???

  • Michael Clay Oct 16, 2014
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    Thank you for your statement. I cannot believe how hateful and disrespecteful some people are.

  • umop apisdn Oct 16, 2014

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    Or Spain. This is nothing to play around with.

  • diana123 Oct 16, 2014

    keep in mind these countries have million of people. for every death there are several births.

  • raphael27520 Oct 16, 2014

    Good for him.
    As long as he waits the necessary 21-30 days in Quarantine before returning to the USA.

  • Glock07 Oct 16, 2014

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    There WAS no ebola in Dallas either.

  • iopsyc Oct 16, 2014

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    I don't think that's how the military works. You don't get to pick and choose your duties. I'm pretty sure they go by the "follow your orders or else" rule.

    The brave men and women joining our armed services do so recognizing that they may die while in service. Ebola is just one of the many ways in which they could die.

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