The History of Hawkins County Rescue Squad, Inc.
The first meeting was held at Holston Electric Cooperative Building, March 1958. This meeting was called by the Junior Chamber of Commerce as Sam Ross had been interested in starting a Squad and asked the Chamber to have a kick-Off Meeting for people interested in joining the Squad. The second meeting was at the Tennessean Restaurant, attended by a few men who had attended the first meeting, to discuss ways to raise money to buy equipment. The meetings were next held at Holston Electric for several weeks at weekly intervals. The first men who joined the Squad had to buy their own uniforms since there was no money available for this. The City Drug, then owned by J. C. Kensinger, donated $100 to buy uniforms.
The Kingsport Life Saving Crew was a great assistance in helping organize Hawkins County Rescue Squad since they spent countless hours teaching Red Cross First Aid and also a course in Bureau of Mines First Aid. They also gave lessons on how to rescuisitators and inhalators and various types of Rescue equipment. They discussed things to expect as a Rescue Squad. A few weeks later it was decided to have a parade of Rescue Squad Vehicles and men through Rogersville and a display of equipment, which was held at First National Bank Parking Lot. Other squads were contacted and asked to help. The Kingsport Life Saving Crew, Bristol Life Saving Crew, Morristown Rescue Squad, and Greeneville Rescue Squad helped with this. This was done to help raise money for Hawkins County Squad. Men were on sidewalks and in the parking lot to take up money, which was successful enough to start buying equipment.
As we began buying equipment, the VFW Post 9543 donated a new 1958 International Six-Man Cab Four Wheel Drive to the Squad. The Squad began buying oxygen equipment, boats and motors. The first equipment was stored at Nash-Wilson Funeral Home. The Squad then bought a 1953 Ford Courier to equip and use for an ambulance. Mr. Frank Farris then let the Squad use a building on West Main Street belonging to him, which was vacant. The Hawkins County Rescue Squad, Inc. was chartered with 19 members on June 9, 1958 and began answering emergency calls soon after. The first call was answered by Capt. Ross using his own vehicle to take oxygen to a home where it was needed. The first highway accident call answered by the Squad was just East of Hawkins County Airport on Highway 11-W.
The Squad used the building for their equipment and vehicles for several months till it was leased. While there, the Pet Milk co. donated a 1949 Van type truck to pull boats and equipment. At that time, the Squad moved into a location near the Rogersville Elementary School known as the Rotary Park. Vehicles were parked outside, Meetings were held in the Scout Hut. We remained there approximately one year. Then the City of Rogersville let us use an upstairs portion of the City Hall and Fire Department Building to store equipment and have headquarters there. Again our vehicles had to be outside.
Mr. Mack Lawson gave money to build a building on a lot belonging to him just across the street to store vehicles and boats, which we used as long as we remained there at no cost to us. Later the Squad built a two ambulance garage on back of the City Hall to store equipment and vehicles. While the Squad was at City Hall a 1960 Ford Station Wagon was purchased and converted into an ambulance.
As years went by the Squad raised money by roadblocks and auction sales, and many civic clubs raised money and donated it to the Squad. A lot of individuals donated money and equipment, to which we are grateful. Time and space will not allow us to mention each one. A 1963 Ford Station Wagon was purchased and equipped for an ambulance. As the Squad constantly trained throughout the years they accumulated Red Cross Instructors which were busy throughout the county teaching first aid classes.
In 1964 the need was seen to put a vehicle in Surgoinsville to better serve the public there. As progress was made, later a 1967 Chevrolet Van was purchased. In 1967 a lot was leased for 99 years from the Hawkins County Board of Education. A Building Committee was formed to decide what type and size building was to be built there. After a lot of discussion and planning by the committee, they drew up an outline of what was wanted and Beason and Beason, Architects, drew up the plan. Later money was raised to build the present the present building. Again the Squad saw the need of putting equipment in the Bulls Gap area and in March of 1968 the ambulance was placed there. It's stationed in a building the Squad built joining the Fire Department.
The first one was stored at Stewart's Funeral Home at no cost, and they made headquarters there. In 1969, a Ford Van was bought and equipped for an ambulance as the funeral homes went out of ambulance service. Colboch-Price, Nash-Wilson, and Stewart's Funeral Home donated ambulances to the Squad since they had to take over all ambulance service in June 1970. In 1971, two new Chevrolet Vans were purchased to replace some of the older ambulances. One of the operations the Squad helped in the earlier days, was the Iron Mountain Plane Crash. The Squad has been on many operations throughout Tennessee.
As we are members of Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads, also some calls have been out of state. One was the school bus wreck at Big Sandy River. Several men were on the scene. The bridge collapsed in Point Pleasant on the Ohio River. The Hawkins County Rescue Squad is proud of having the Hawkins County Crewettes and their assistance to the Squad. They have raised money and gave to the Squad to buy equipment and are always there with food when needed on an operation in Hawkins County or where ever the need may be. As the Squad members look back to the times of the first meeting in March 1958, of how we were wondering how to raise money to buy our equipment.
We began without any money, depending on the people of Hawkins County and surrounding areas for their assistance. We have seen the help they have given as members have increased from 19 to 53 and over. Building and equipment in 1978 could be valued at approximately one quarter of a million dollars. We are still depending on the support of all people. We have confidence that we will not be let down in the future. In 1972, the International Card and Label and employees donated a 1972 international six-man cab crash truck. Since that time, we have added numerous pieces of equipment. The Squad has always used for its theme quote "Service is Our Best Advertisement."
Rescue Squad, Inc.