Members of the Salem Volunteer Rescue Squad celebrated the squad’s 90th anniversary Saturday with a luncheon at Hidden Valley Country Club’s 49 Lounge.
“It was very nice,” Mike Moore, senior member, said. “Everybody had a good time. We enjoyed catching up.”
The squad was organized Nov. 15, 1932. Originally called the Salem Life Saving Crew, it was modeled after the Roanoke Life Saving & First Aid Crew that was organized in 1928.
“Their many years of service shows a true dedication to the citizens of Salem,” Moore said of the life members of the squad.
Moore has been part of the squad for 41 years. He initially joined because he had some friends who were involved in volunteer fire and rescue work in Covington, where he was born and raised. When he moved to Salem, he needed something to do because of his work schedule. He was sitting around the house a lot but wanted to get involved in an extracurricular activity. “I got into an EMT class and from there it’s history,” he said. At the time, it was required that all members lived within the city limits.
He described the work that the members do as being “the right thing to do. It’s part of being a part of the community.” He added, “It’s something we enjoy doing. We feel like we can help our fellow citizens. It sort of gets in your blood.”
Currently, the squad has roughly 20 members. Those who volunteer at the squad come from all walks of life.
“With 20 people, we’re struggling,” he said.
When Moore first joined, there were 61 members. “Volunteer rescue squads are going by the wayside every day,” he noted. “People don’t have the time. It’s hard to get your certification now. It’s gotten costly.”
He said it costs around $1,000 to take a certification class. Most who take the time to get the certification nowadays decide to pursue a career path instead of the volunteer route.
For those who are interested in volunteering, they should call the squad’s part-time secretary at 540-375-3001.
In looking ahead, Moore said he is optimistic about the future of the squad. The squad had a booth during Olde Salem Days. “Even though the weather was bad, we picked up 10 applications that day,” he said. “I’m tickled to death with that.”
The squad covers a number of events and public gatherings. January through October, the squad covered 48 events in the city.
“We’re covering three nights a week now. We’d like to cover seven nights from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” he said.