Joining Up

A few weeks after the rescue squad pried the dog out from under me and my bicycle, Mid-County held a health fair, in which representatives from local health care professions and agencies gather to reach out to the community. It's a multipurpose event, serving as a volunteer recruitment strategy, a meet-and-greet for volunteers from different emergency agencies, a chance for folks to get their blood pressure checked, glucose checked, body fat measured, stuff like that.

My right shoulder was still touchy and the range of motion in my arm was limited, but the scrapes on my knees had healed and the concussion appeared to have left me no more stupid than that I was before the dog incident. I had been thinking about joining the rescue squad anyway and now I felt I owed those fine people a favor.

I had several instincts about this. At that time, all the rescue squads on the Northern Neck were staffed completely by volunteers, 24/7/365. The agencies did not charge for their services; volunteers saved the taxpayers a lot of money and the heartache of applying to Medicaid, Medicare and insurance companies to reimburse for emergency transport. If volunteers did not continue to step up to the plate to keep the service running, government would have to fill the void.

The neighbors in our little subdivision on the Coan River were weekenders from the DC metropolitan area. They had what seemed to me to be an unfounded dislike and supercilious regard for the "bubbas," as they called the people who had lived in Northumberland County for generations going back nearly 400 years. I wanted to find out for myself about the community. I figured emergency medical services (EMS) would show me the best and worst of it.

In the several years we had already lived in Northumberland County, I had nothing but gentle, good-humored, and courteous interactions with the locals. Rescue squad work would give me a chance to return to the community their many kindnesses.