Editor’s Note: In 300 words or fewer, this series spotlights people in our community whose stories typically go untold.
With a big smile on his face, David Chambers, coordinator for Student Emergency Services, welcomes students in crisis to his office. He offers a list of resources to get back on top, deems any student’s concern an emergency and works overtime to help overwhelming situations seem less scary.
“I’m kind of a hugger,” Chambers said. “There’re many times I just want to hug you and make it all go away.”
Although Chambers has an undergraduate degree in computer science, his love of working with people pushed him to get a masters in higher education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He said his calm disposition helps him handle chaotic situations.
Since high school, Chambers has volunteered with EMTs. Eventually, Chambers decided to become a firefighter, in honor of his cousin, a police officer, who had died in the line of duty. During his seven years as a firefighter, the department honored Chambers for his heroism after he saved a disabled person from their burning home.
“For the fields I have worked in, there’s some dangers to it — whether that’s physical or mental,” Chambers said. “But this is what I enjoy doing. For me, I couldn’t sit home and program all day. That would get me down.”
In order to gain more knowledge and build a larger support network for students, Chambers became part of the Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team of Travis County. Chambers doesn’t know how many cases will come in each day, but he waits patiently in his office to give his full attention to concerned students.
“In my previous job as a firefighter, I never really followed up with people,” Chambers said. “Here, we continue to work with students through the crisis and see how resilient the students are and how they can succeed against a lot of struggles.”
Correction: This article has been amended since its original publication. Chambers became a firefighter in 2006, a few years after his cousin, a police officer, died in the line of duty. Chambers attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania.