CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (VR) – The Clifton Forge Volunteer Rescue Squad, founded in 1945 by J.W.M. Paxton, celebrated its 78th anniversary by opening its doors to the public during EMS Week.
Visitors were treated to snacks, a tour of the building and an opportunity to flip through old photo albums full of the squad’s rich history. In addition, bracelets, pencils and File A Life magnets were handed out. A File A Life is akin to a magnetic envelope that houses a form filled out by the recipient. The form contains vital information such as the person’s name, date of birth, medical history, current medications and allergies. Then, in the event the rescue squad is dispatched to that person’s house, a volunteer can go to the refrigerator, grab the File A Life and have immediate access to crucial information that could be lifesaving.
Unfortunately, there is a growing need for volunteers. Teresa Gibson, the only female to ever serve as captain of the Clifton Forge Rescue Squad, was present at the event and said, “It’s harder for volunteers now because there’s so much you have to do in order to be able to even get on an ambulance.”
This includes taking a class at Mountain Gateway, possessing a CPR card and having an emergency vehicle operator license to drive the ambulance.
Even with their short supply of volunteers, the crew was in great spirits during the event. Following a prayer in the parking lot, members of the VFW slowly raised the American flag and saluted as fellow member Richard Erskine played the bugle, thus kickstarting the festivities.
Although the event lasted but a few short hours, it was both memorable and full of hearty laughs from old friends, some of whom have volunteered together — namely Gibson and Fernando Lopez — for over three decades.