Madison County Rescue Squad Celebrate 50 Years of Service - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Madison County Rescue Squad Celebrate 50 Years of Service

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Founding members Paul Coates and Marjorie Lamar Founding members Paul Coates and Marjorie Lamar

A central Virginia rescue squad is celebrating 50 years of life-saving service.

The all-volunteer Madison County squad held an open house Sunday to share its history with the community.

Nearly 30 men and women started the Madison County Rescue Squad in 1963. Two of those members are still actively responding to emergency calls - and passing on their wisdom to younger generations. Paul Coates was motivated to form the Madison County Rescue Squad after a single incident in 1962.

"There was an automobile accident on the way up which four boys had crashed into a Sycamore tree...called another county rescue squad - it took them about an hour to get there which was understandable," he said.

Shortly after the crash, Coates talked with his friends about creating a response team. That's when he crossed paths with Marjorie Lamar.

"I went to the organizational meeting to find out what it was about and thinking I might help out by teaching first aid," Lamar said.

The squad officially formed after 28 charter members completed their first aid class.

"My dad helped start the Rescue Squad in 1963. I got interested in it when I was 16-years-old and took an EMT course," second lieutenant Jeff Jenkins said.

Since then, the squad has dedicated five decades to the community and guided generations of members.

"My daughter - she's getting ready to start the EMT course here - and I'm just kind of proud that she wanted to join up like I did when I was 16, 17-years-old," Jenkins said.

The squad says they are a close-knit family that plans to continue serving the Madison community for years to come.

"Once they get into it, they see the need for it. Madison County is a small county. Up until probably the last 10 years, you knew everybody in Madison and when the call came in - you knew who you were going to work on," Coates said.

"I just loved the work. I like trying to help - hoping that I'm helping people. I can't really explain it, but it's very fulfilling," Lamar said.

Coates says the crew has advanced over the past 50 years with greater education and technology.

The squad is holding an EMT class in November to train new members. Click here for more information. 

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