Be careful what you wish for.
This common adage has been uttered countless times, whether quietly to ourselves or by someone who has seen its truth and felt the urge to pass on the wise advice it conveys. Sometimes, you get exactly what you yearn for, and often times that yearning comes as a child, with a mind less affected by “real life,” and, thus, free to aspire to whatever youthful aspirations come to surface.
For Drew Bordner ’07, the desire to assist people, and to eventually make a career out of it, struck him early in life. “It does sound corny, but I knew from a young age that I wanted to do a job in healthcare, helping people,” Bordner said. “When I was a kid, I watched a television series called ‘Rescue 911,’ and I wanted to be like those people.”
As a senior in high school where Bordner grew up in Kenton, Ohio, roughly forty miles south of University of Findlay, Bordner took night classes to become an Emergency Medical Technician, and soon after graduating, took the national certification exam to realize his efforts. “I worked for a volunteer ambulance service and a paid company as well, to get as much experience as I could,” he explained. He continued to do so after enrolling as an Oiler, additionally working in the emergency room at Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay as an ER technician while studying to become a certified physician assistant at UF.
His time at UF, he said, began as it normally does for a small-town kid. Comparatively, it nearly goes without saying that UF’s campus and student population doesn’t fall under the “huge university” category; however, for someone such as Bordner who comes from a place like Kenton, a town, by the last count a couple of years ago, had a population hovering right around eight thousand, it can still be daunting, at least at first. Bordner confessed that when he first arrived at UF it was exciting, but scary as well. “I went from knowing everyone in my school and hometown to not knowing anyone at all,” he said, “but that changed quickly.” He got to know roommates, classmates, and everyone in between. He calls joining the Theta Chi fraternity at UF one of the best decisions he’s ever made, leading to lifelong friends who have always “pushed him to succeed.”
Another determining factor in his success at UF, Bordner said, is that the smaller university allows for plenty of room to get to know instructors. The preparation that they gave him to go onto his meaningful career and productive life beyond the Griffith Memorial Arch was second-to-none. “Indescribable,” he said. “They make a point to get to know you. They care about everyone’s success. They have passion. No college could have prepared me better.”
Yet, thirteen years after graduating from UF, Bordner is on the front lines of what would have been difficult for anyone to be entirely prepared for. As a certified physician assistant in the emergency room at Marion General Hospital in Marion, Ohio, he sees a bit of everything. It can definitely be stressful, he said, at times sad, and sometimes even scary. And now, with the advent of COVID-19, things are different, but a lot remains the same. “Our smiling faces are now covered with masks, and goggles, and gowns,” he said, “but I work with amazing doctors, PAs, nurses and techs. You can be having a terrible day and then you get to take care of a small child who draws you a picture, telling you thank you for fixing their boo-boo, and in an instant, you’re reminded of why you do what you do.”
Bordner lives in his hometown of Kenton, along with his wife Erin, whom he met while he was a student at UF and she a student at Owens Community College in Findlay, and their three children: eight-year-old Jayce, Brielle, five, and Gatlin, two.
Students and future alumni of UF: be careful what you wish for. Drew Bordner and his life of service to those who need it most, including the family he’s so proud of, is a testament to the power of wishful thinking.