Published Wednesday Oct 31, 2018
Cookeville native, Tennessee Tech alum and Medal of Valor recipient Sean Ochsenbein will serve as the grand marshal of this year’s Tech homecoming parade.
Ochsenbein, who is currently at Wake Forest Baptist Health as a resident physician practicing emergency medicine, will guide the annual parade down Dixie Avenue on Saturday as Tech celebrates Super Awesome Homecoming 2018.
“Being chosen as Grand Marshall has given me the ability to thank all the people who have touched my life while I was on campus,” said Ochsenbein. “I am working at my dream job and this would have never been possible if it was not for those at TTU.”
Ochsenbein graduated from Cookeville High in 2007, and then spent four years at Tech, majoring in biology. As an undergrad, he served as the Student Government Association president and was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents. He also earned the prestigious Derryberry Award.
“As a child, both of my parents worked at TTU, so I grew up around all the kind and wonderful people on campus,” said Ochsenbein. “Having exposure to the campus made me acutely aware that I could reach any goal or pursue any career graduating from TTU. It was an easy choice, knowing that I would be around great people and have the tools to succeed upon graduating.”
After graduating from Tech, Ochsenbein trained with the Putnam County Rescue Squad and worked with the Putnam County Ambulance Service. Even though he was a highly successful college student, it was an act of bravery after graduating from Tech that elevated Ochsenbein to hero status.
In 2016, Ochsenbein was on his way to Johnson City from a ski vacation when he came upon a head-on collision resulting in a fire. He and a nearby sheriff’s deputy extracted the driver from one of the vehicles, saving his life before the car exploded.
For his heroic effort, Ochsenbein was awarded the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor from President Donald Trump.
“I remember thinking, ‘I’m not going to sit here and watch a man burn alive,’” Ochsenbein said in an interview after earning the Medal of Valor. “Having seen hundreds of motor vehicles accidents and being called to the worst as a vehicle extrication technician, I was fully aware of the severity of the accident. In the first responders community, the worst kind of motor vehicle accident is one in which the patients are trapped in the car and the vehicle is on fire.”
On Saturday, Ochsenbein returns home to a hero’s welcome as he gets to enjoy homecoming at his alma mater, serving as the grand marshal of a parade he played a big role in.
“The people at TTU will always stay with me because they are some of the kindest and hardest working people I've had the pleasure of meeting,” Ochsenbein said. “It makes me a better person living by example of kindness I was shown by so many at TTU.”
Homecoming activities have been going on all week and will continue throughout the weekend. Among the highlights of this year’s homecoming festivities is the Golden Grad reunion on Friday followed by the Tech Sports Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremonies Friday night. The homecoming parade is at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning followed by the annual homecoming football game at 1:30 p.m. as Tech hosts Murray State.
For more information about Tech’s Super Awesome Homecoming 2018, go to https://alumni.tntech.edu/homecoming-2018.