By Pam Dudding, Contributing writer
What would it be like if you really needed immediate help, and no one was available to be there for you or your loved one having a heart attack, stroke or bleeding from a possible fatal accident?
Craig County has been immensely blessed to have the volunteers and workers who have diligently showed up to care for the community in the capacity of the Emergency Medical Care throughout many years.
Volunteers also have a Board of Members who help support their vision for the squad. They are Kermit Daniel, Tammy Crawford, Walter Marsden, Debbie Snead and Pat Myers.
At their monthly meeting on July 15, Rescue Squad volunteers, along with their Board members, met together to discuss many current community concerns, updated policies and procedures and added checklists. Along with all the important things, the squad still has to watch their budget to provide the little necessities such as toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, water, cleaning supplies, etc.
Also, they currently have a problem with the belt on their mower getting eaten up, as something is not exactly aligning any longer on the mower deck.
To add to their list of chores is completing replacing the ceiling tiles throughout the building and painting the floors. It is just like having a home, plus taking care of community needs, so the building needs must get put on the back burner sometimes. Still, you walk in, and it looks clean, furnished and has a true feeling of “comm-UNITY.”
More volunteers are needed. They are looking for caring people who are willing to learn the “valuable tricks of the trade” so to speak and step out into a journey of heart-felt satisfaction.
Said member Trace Bellassai, “The volunteer rescue squad is in serious need of volunteers. Our membership is at an all-time low, so it’s important to the survival of the volunteer rescue squad that we’re able to get more EMTs.”
More members added, “This line of work is not easy, but has so many benefits to it. This line of work brings you closer to your community, allowing you to see through the eyes of others, in a way you cannot any other way.”
The Rescue Squad is offering an EMT class that will be Monday and Wednesday nights from Aug. 2 through Aug. 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“Classes are free if people become members and agree to run with us for a year after they finish the class,” Bellassai explained. “We don’t have an exact start date yet, but it will be the end of August and want to go ahead and get something out soon for anyone interested.”
Classes cover the many aspects that will help one to become a knowledgeable EMT:
- Hospital emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical services (EMS) system
- Basic knowledge and skills necessary to stabilize and safely transport patients ranging from non-emergency and routine medical transports to life-threatening emergencies
- How to function as part of a comprehensive EMS response system under medical oversight
- Perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance
- How to become the critical link between the scene of an emergency and the health care system
The Virginia EMT program is based upon the Virginia EMS Education Standards. Virginia certification requires successful completion of a standardized cognitive and psychomotor skills examination. This course is designed to train individuals to serve as a vital link in the chain of the health care team which includes all skills necessary to provide emergency medical care as an attendant-in-charge with a basic life support ambulance service or other specialized rescue service.
They will also be offering a CPR class that will be open to the public, beginning on August 8 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Interested individuals can contact Trace Bellassai, who is an EMT with the Craig County Rescue Squad, at (540) 384-0752 or [email protected].
In the meetings, it’s abundantly clear that every volunteer cares about serving their community.
Each of the current volunteers has served different years. When asked why they joined the squad, they replied:
- Sergeant Aaron Weiss (four years): “I do this to help out our community and I wanted to make sure somebody shows up, just as if I needed help as well.”
- Chief Robert Wrzosek (nine years): “I joined CCVRS after I joined Paint Bank to get my experience and also to help the community.”
- Josh Mitchell (ten years): “I joined because Johns Creek didn’t have any EMS up there and it takes 30 minutes to get up there sometimes and they needed the help in my area.”
- Bobby Huffman, Jr. (12 years): “I joined to help out our community.”
- 2nd Lieutenant Brent Montgomery (almost three years): “I joined to help the community.”
- 1st Lieutenant Trace Bellassai (three years): “I started off in dispatching and realized we needed more EMTs so I joined to help.
- Duane Means (nine years): “I joined to help out the Sinking Creek area of the county.”
- April Huffman (12 years): “I joined because my mom was an EMT.”
“We need people that care about their community and are willing to help those in the community in need of medical assistance,” Bellassai shared. “It’s very rewarding to know you’re helping your neighbors.”