|On July 21st, 1989 Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad went live and "Harbour 9" was on the air.|
|By President Angela Lang (Wilhelm)|
|July 21, 2016|
On July 21st, 1989 Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad went live and "Harbour 9" was on the air.
The Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad had its beginnings with an ad for an Emergency Medical Technician class that appeared on the signboard at the Aquia Harbour community gate in December 1988. Ten residents responded to that ad placed by the Squad's first Rescue Chief, Dick Wiczalkowski and attended class at the Rockhill Volunteer Fire Department in January, 1989. Funds for the new squad came from donations and a Harbour escrow account for a first aid crew. Charter members included: John Chapman, Karen Chapman, Charlie Hughes, Patti Hughes, Diana McFarland, Candy Morrison, Howard Rose, Nancy Rose, Chris Schoon, and Dick Wczalkowski.
Meetings to formulate a First Response Team were first held in the home of Howard and Nancy Rose and later in the Blue Room of the Harbour Inn. Phil Hornung, the Aquia Supervisor, was instrumental in assisting the team with the governmental hurdles. Dr. Robert Kravetz, then Operational Medical Director for the Rappahannock region, assisted on the medical side. On July 21st, 1989 Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad went live and "Harbour 9" was on the air.
Without Squad alert tones the two-person duty crews had to listen to all the calls, all night long; for only the calls for the Harbour applied to our crew. Equipment for the evening was picked up at the Roses' house and returned by 6:00 the next morning. Members responded to the calls in their personal vehicles. With as few as eight members the Squad managed to field a crew every night. Members ran between ten and twelve shifts a month. The team would stabilize the patient until an ambulance could arrive.
The Squad's first response vehicle was an old police cruiser donated by Stafford County. After six months members wanted to do more and took steps to become a Basic Life Support agency. Kevin Dillard, then the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads, District 10 Vice-president, negotiated with Henrico County Rescue for our first ambulance. It was parked at the Aquia Harbour police station. Members responded to the ambulance and then to the patient. On our first call with the "new " ambulance the light bar fell off!
The need for a rescue squad building was quickly recognized and negotiations began. After the building contractor went bankrupt and fled the country, members pulled together and finished the interior themselves. The building was dedicated in May 1991.
About this time our membership had grown to include Advanced Life Support technicians and the Squad received ALS certification from the Commonwealth. Recruiting new members was difficult with a first due area still limited to the Harbour. After many hours of negotiations with the County and the Stafford Volunteer Rescue Squad our run area was expanded outside of the Harbour.
Serving the community not only in the rescue capacity, the squad emphasizes safety awareness and education programs, such as CPR classes, "Save Your Heart For Love", and "Buckle Up, Kids." Many Scouting organizations have had their first aid merit badge requirements completed through rescue squad programs. Even with limited space and no training room, the Squad hosted an EMT class on occasion.
Today the Squad maintains One ALS ambulance, One BLS Ambulance and an BLS Response vehicle. In May of 2007 Engine 9, staffed by Stafford County career personnel, joined us with 24/7 coverage in our mission of emergency response to the county residents. Membership has grown and the Squad's first due has grown to encompass the Aquia/ Garrisonville corridor, and parts of Route 1 and Interstate 95. Our membership includes Emergency Medical Technicians-Basics, Intermediates and Paramedics, certified Emergency Vehicle Operators and administrative members. The Squad takes pride in its history and in the dedicated service and quality patient care delivered by our certified professional volunteers.
We want to thank each and everyone of our Past & Present Squad members for their time and dedication to Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad & our Community. Today we celebrate 27 years of service to Stafford County! Stay Safe and Vigilant!
Angela Lang, President & Patricia Copeland, Rescue Chief