By Staff Reports
The Jeb Stuart Rescue Squad celebrated its 40th anniversary in June with a new truck.
The squad bought a 2019 Ford F550 4×4 Osage Super Warrior XL ambulance with a power stretcher and oxygen lift. The new equipment will replace a 2001 Ford F450 4×4 unit, which is now available to purchase via a silent auction.
Derek Wagner, who was hired Aug. 16 to serve as chief of the squad, said “around 10 years is the life expectancy for a truck.”
He added that he expects the organization will have to buy ambulances more frequently due to the increased distance involved in call coverage. Wagner also noted that since the 2017 closing of the Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County, the squad must transfer patients to nearby counties, increasing the wear and tear on the trucks.
The squad sought a grant from the rescue squad assistance fund offered through the state Office of Emergency Medical Services, Wagner said. The grant, which required a 20 percent local match, was awarded in July 2019.
The squad used Capital Improvement Funds from the county in 2019 to pay the local match required to buy the new vehicle, estimated to cost $286,000, Wagner said.
It was delivered on Aug. 22, Wagner said, adding the squad hopes to have it on the road by Oct. 1.
“We’re still waiting to get the radios installed and apply for the EMS permit” that is required by the state, he said.
The squad hoped to celebrate its milestone anniversary with a public event but was unable to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wagner said. The squad hopes to hold an open house in the future, but he does not know if or when that may happen.
Still, the anniversary is a time for celebration, according to Wagner, who served as volunteer captain from 2016 until 2019, began as a volunteer with the organization in 2011.
He said since the squad had grown since its inception in 1980 – primarily due to support from the community.
The squad’s first station on American Legion Road was bought by Lock Boyce, a local veterinarian and community activist. Boyce, who died in August, bought the first station for $50,000 about 20 years ago, Wagner said.
Boyce, who was the volunteer captain in 1992 and a life member of the rescue squad, kept the building for five years, and then sold it to the squad for the same price, Wagner said.
Career or paid part-time personnel were added to the squad’s roster in late 2017, and full-time career staff came on board in June 2019, according to Wagner who added that even now, the squad primarily remains a volunteer rescue squad.
Volunteers are being sought. Volunteer applications are available at jebstuartrescue.org.
The squad also is preparing to send out letters asking for donations. Monetary donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 340, Patrick Springs, VA, 24133.
For more information, contact the squad via email at email@example.com or by phone at (276) 694-6171.