HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — The City of Hutchinson and Hutchinson Community College (HCC) have Google to thank for introducing Reno County to international student Felipe Trautmann.
Trautmann, 22, was born in Brazil but spent the majority of his youth in Spain.
“I have always been on the move,” said Trautmann. “My parents were missionaries. They were always doing work around different churches in Europe.”
When it came time for Trautmann to decide his educational path, he decided to put his faith in God and the internet. That’s where he found the surgical technology program at Hutchinson Community College.
“I kind of found it by mistake,” laughed Trautmann.
However, the soon-to-be graduate doesn’t believe in mistakes. He acts by faith. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in medicine, he decided to follow his instincts. Following a lengthy visa process and COVID-19 complications, Trautmass arrived at Wichita’s Eisenhower Airport in August 2021.
“Once I arrived, all I wanted to do was get to Hutch because it was a long journey,” he said.
That journey was about to get even longer. After arriving at the airport, Trautmann walked to a nearby bus station only to find it was closed. He then tried to buy a bus ticket to Hutchinson with his credit card, but the bus driver only took cash.
“That’s when I had this amazing idea to go to Walmart and buy a bicycle and ride here,” he said.
Trautmann then set out on the more than 50-mile journey from Wichita to Hutchinson. At first, he was taken aback by the beauty of Kansas.
“I am enjoying the scenery. It was beautiful to see all the cornfields and sunflowers. At the same time, I am enjoying the experience. I know that this is a story that I want to tell my grandkids,” Trautmann explained.
The beauty of the bike ride eventually took a detour as Trautmann’s legs started getting fatigued, and the sun started to set.
“I got cramps really bad because I hadn’t rode a bike in years, and I had all my luggage with me. I had a gym bag and my backpack, which I wrapped around my body somehow,” he said. “I couldn’t make it that afternoon, so I ended up sleeping in Haven that night in front of the police station.”
Trautmann arrived in Hutchinson the next morning, more than 13 hours after he started his trek. He stayed in a hotel for a couple of days before finding a place to rent on Facebook. Despite the less-than-ideal travel conditions and rooming situation, Trautmann never lost hope.
“All there was a step of faith, and I put God first in every decision that I made and just been living off of miracles ever since,” Trautmann said.
Since arriving in Hutchinson, Trautmann has created a community. He has joined a church and found work at the local sports arena. In addition, he’s made a name for himself in the classroom and has excelled in his surgical technology training.
“I think it’s awesome. I think just for him to be able to persevere. Most people would have given up,” said Norine Hamy, the director of the HCC surgical technology program. “I just think it’s an awesome story he can carry with him forever.”
Trautman is on track to graduate from the surgical technology program in the spring of 2023. He said he dreams of one day becoming a doctor.