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Finding his Servant Heart

The tale of the last decade for Traden Karch is really a journey from tragedy to triumph. In 2015, he was involved in a car accident on the way home from school that would change his life.

"They gave me 24 hours to live, and I was in ICU for three weeks while in a coma," he recalled.

Through the power of social media, his story and his love for the game of golf went viral, and a connection was made with Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman sent Traden a video wishing him well, and in 2016, the two were able to meet at the PGA Championship at Blatusrol Golf Club in New Jersey.

"It was crazy. At the time, it was a one-time deal," Karch said. "Now, I have seen him multiple times because of that nice connection."

A connection that has moved beyond the game of golf to a personal level. The same transition can be said for the career Traden is pursuing. He is finishing his Emergency Medical Responder/ Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training at Tulsa Tech.

"Without the EMTs at Broken Arrow Fire, I would not be here right now," he said. "I never even thought about going into this field. Now it's what I want to do. I have done three clinicals, and I had a blast on them. It feels like it is a calling."

A calling to return the service he was given a few years ago.

"It's touching! I am not on the cot; I am helping people on the cot. Instead of people trying to save me, I am trying to save them, which is crazy," Karch said.

He even uses his story of survival to help the families know that there is hope for a recovery.

"I like to share my story, and on my first major call, I was able to help a mom," Karch said with a smile. "I could tell after talking with her, she was at ease."

The recent Broken Arrow High School graduate is now taking his love for the game of golf and service to the collegiate ranks. This fall, Traden plans to play golf at Rogers State in Claremore and major in Nursing.

"I want to be a full-time nurse and a part-time EMT," Karch said. "Helping people is my calling now."

This past week, that servant spirit was on full display at Southern Hills Country Club for the 2022 PGA Championship. Karch volunteered to serve as a standard-bearer. That is the person who holds the sign with the player's scores. And day 1 of the tournament was a wild experience.

"It was weird because I had Tiger Woods and talk about a crowd on my first day," Karch recalled. "It is a crazy experience going from clinical to inside the ropes at a major sporting event."

As Karch works toward becoming a Nurse and EMT, he is thankful for the bonds made at Tulsa Tech.

"The connections you can make with your classmates are amazing," he said. "In a couple of years, we might be partnered together and have this to look back on."