The last year of Devin's membership in the junior squad, we gave him an award for exemplary service.
A rural, isolated community like Northumberland County, VA has little in the way of superfluous activities for kids. There are no theatres, no shopping malls, no brightly lighted streets, no place to go and not much to do. It's not much fun to create mischief because there's no anonymity. Everybody knows who you are, where you live, who your grandparents and parents are and where they work, and what their expectations are for you. If local law enforcement officers aren't relatives of yours, they probably belong to your church. You can't get away with anything and if you try, word of your misdeeds will get home before you do. Drinking on prom night is out of the question. So what to do? Dress up and get your prom photo taken in an ambulance.
Here we have junior squad members in 2003 (left-to-right): Wes Brown, Sallie Parr, Beverly Townshend, Devin Basye. On the stretcher is a fellow whose name Devin told me, but whose name I've lost in the many years since he did.
Soon after this photo was taken, the kids graduated from Northumberland High. Wes joined the National Guard. His unit was deployed in Mosul, Iraq. Wes was in the mess tent on December 22, 2004, and survived the suicide attack that occurred on that day. Several anxious days passed before we learned that Wes was not injured. When we saw him again, he told us that he was called upon to help treat those who were. He ruefully mentioned that the injuries he witnessed in Mosul were like nothing he had ever seen in stateside EMS worked and hoped he would never see that degree of trauma again.