By Michael Abramowitz
September 30, 2014
Students from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University who joined Monday’s recreational outing had a blast.
About 25 students turned out at the Pitt County Wildlife Club in Falkland to shoot an assortment of shotguns and small caliber rifles under the guidance of club members and officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
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For Brandon Lyon and his fellow wildlife enforcement officers at the club, the student outing was an excellent opportunity to expose people to the fun and excitement of safe firearms use.
“We’re always looking for different ways to reach out to the many sectors of our diverse population,” Lyon said.
The event was a natural fit for Lyon because his wife, Kayla, is a Brody student. The idea was hers, he said.
“They have a recreational program for the medical students called, ‘Teach Your Talent,’ and that’s what Kayla wanted to teach,” Brandon Lyon said. “We both really enjoy firearms recreation and it was a way for her to share her pastime in a safe and enjoyable environment.”
The idea also made sense to Brandon Lyon for other reasons, he said.
“These people have devoted their lives to studying medicine, and this gives them an opportunity to widen out into something they might not otherwise be doing,” he said. “And it lets us instruct them properly to provide a good first-time experience.”
Kayla Lyon said she was a bit surprised that so many of her classmates responded to the invitation.
“There were a lot more who wanted to join us, but they had other obligations today,” she said. “Our faculty encourage us to be well-rounded, and the Teach Your Talent program is something that our diversity counselor, Bianca Patel, began to diversify our interests.”
Second-year medical student Justin Smith was fired up after firing off a few 20-gauge shotgun rounds at some clay pigeons.
“I’m just trying to blow off some steam and relax with my classmates a bit after a tough round of exams last week,” Smith said. “It was fun, a lot of fun.”
Jason Yan came off the range beaming, despite “narrowly” missing his targets, according to his instructor.
“It was a great experience, even though I didn’t hit any of the targets,” Yan said. “I’ve never shot a gun before. I thought the noise and recoil would be tough, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I never thought I’d be doing this in med school.”
Kayla Lyon said a safe firearms experience could very well enhance a doctor’s bedside manner.
“There are a lot of folks in Pitt County who hunt, and this commonality could be a good way to gain patient trust and get an insight into their lives,” she said.
Several of Lyon’s classmates agreed, with some taking the experience a step further. Augustine Dusablon is an experienced shooter who took advantage of the opportunity to practice with his classmates. He saw some practical value in having experience with firearms.
“There’s a good likelihood that many of my classmates will have exposure to firearms injuries,” Dusablon said. “Having some idea what it’s about will serve them as a doctor. It’s also good to know about safety rules.”
The Wildlife Resources enforcement officers were able to participate in the event with funding from the agency’s hunter education program. There are eight firearms ranges and an archery range available to members and their guests at the Pitt County Wildlife Club on N.C. 222 in Falkland, member and certified hunter safety instructor Kim Tavasso said.
The club hosts several events each year that are open to the public, including ladies’ and youth events, Tavasso said. For more information about firearms safety training at the club, visit online at pittcountywildlifeclub.org/rangerules.
“It’s interesting to see the rising number of women who now are becoming interested in hunting, and who want to learn how to safely and correctly handle a firearm,” Tavasso said.