Sperryville Volunteer Rescue Squad Chief Harold Beebout says the community lunch and meeting held jointly July 31 by SVRS and the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department, a session meant to highlight the need for fire and rescue volunteers in Sperryville and throughout the county, was successful for several reasons — including meeting immediate recruitment needs.
“We had six people take applications,” Beebout said, noting that the rescue squad’s need for drivers and EMTs is crucial — as it is, in varying degrees, at each of the county’s seven all-volunteer fire and rescue companies — and that several of the applicants were already “being helped through the first steps of membership.”
Beebout said the other goals of the session, which drew more than 50 people to the Sperryville fire hall for the Sunday afternoon gathering, included the “education of the community at large, that fire and rescue are your community services, emphasis on the your, and if you want to keep them and not have to pay higher taxes [for paid responders], folks have to step up and volunteer and help out.”
A third goal, on which Beebout said encouraging progress was made, “was to engage the community on their own ideas for increasing volunteerism and retention of volunteers.” The meeting broke up into smaller groups after lunch, he said, “and people came up with quite a number of good ideas.”
Included were some that “aren’t new,” such as increasing publicity and news coverage, but also floated were ideas to encourage business owners in the county to adopt liberal leave policies, “whereby people on a limited basis can leave for an emergency call, as long as they make up their work later”; and to develop a corps of “volunteer babysitters, to allow parent volunteers to leave their kids with known sitters.”
Beebout said the session likely is a sign of more cooperative efforts by Sperryville’s two long-ago-divorced emergency companies. “That’s definitely a yes,” he said, noting that SVFD’s current president, Larry Grove, “is also an associate member with us, and has driven more ambulance calls than any other person who’s not a regular EMT. He’s a champion.”
If you missed the meeting and are interested in volunteering, or learning more, contact SVRS at 540-987-8085 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Sperryville fire department at 540-987-8124 (or online at sperryvillefire.com).