Sperryville Volunteer Rescue Squad, also known as Company 7, hosted the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads’ (VAVRS) district 10 meeting last Sunday for the first time ever.
First-responders from rescue squads around the region, including Fredericksburg, Lake of the Woods, Madison, Riva, Chancellor, Colonial Beach and LifeCare participated in a an EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator Course) competition at Rappahannock County Elementary School (won by Wesley Melson, a volunteer from Colonial Beach). Life-support skills competitions were held at the squad’s headquarters on Main Street, and Sperryville volunteers provided food and support at both locations.
The VAVRS represents 329 volunteer EMS agencies, rescue squads, fire departments and specialty related agencies with over 18,000 members. The morning and afternoon activities offered this writer a privileged glimpse into their world – one made up of dedicated professionals who volunteer to place themselves in harm’s way, to provide the finest rescue efforts benefiting our communities.
It was fascinating to learn of their extensive programs, the existence of a rescue college, a state scholarship program, summer youth camps and programs to benefit children as young as eight to volunteer with rescue squads. And most especially, offerings of myriad courses providing a high level of education in EMS, Emergency Management Systems to enable these volunteers to continue to hone their skills.
It was especially poignant to learn that each year a memorial service is offered to the fallen heroes. This past year alone, more than 20 men and women lost their lives in the line of duty and district 10 has the honorable distinction of being the strongest supporter nationwide of the Adopt a Family Program to benefit the families of such fallen heroes.
To Harold Beebout of Sperryville’s Company 7, thank you for your comments, regarding Company 7’s 99-percent successful response rate in 2012. Thank you also to Joe Engelhardt, whose company Penn Care donated the ambulance used in the EVOC competition, Steve Dove, state treasurer and the force behind the summer camps, to state officer and advisor Gary Dalton, strategic planning chair Karen Wagner, and George Langford, the district 10 vice president.
One would be remiss to neglect to mention the irascible and totally charming volunteer from Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad, Bob Morrison, whose distinct New England accent was immediately recognized and who attended the same high school as this writer.
Thank you, all of you, for your commitment, your fearlessness and your courage. And to Sperryville’s Volunteer Rescue Squad, in the words of Donald Gore of Company 7, “We may be small, but we are big at heart.”
Sally Petty of Waggin’ Hearts Therapy Dogs recently welcomed a little filly to her herd. Feisty, born to Laci, a miniature horse, is the tiniest of horse breeds and is destined to join Sally’s “Mini Whinny” therapy horse program, which is in the process of being created as a non-profit.
This adorable bundle of joy will travel to nursing homes, assisted living centers, schools, daycare centers for adults and children and other places where she’ll inspire smiles aplenty. Many of you know of Sally’s work with the young and the elderly. Her involvement is particularly poignant, so giving of herself and her beloved animals. Information about her work is available at wagginhearts-therapydogs.org.