The Vinton First Aid Crew was founded in 1939 and celebrated 79 years of dedication to the Vinton community and surrounding areas with the annual Installation of Officers Banquet on June 28.
Lifetime member Doug Adams welcomed members of the First Aid Crew and honored guests including Vinton Mayer Brad Grose, Jason Peters from the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, Town Manager Barry Thompson, Public Works Director Joey Hiner, Deputy Police Chief Captain Fabricio Drumond, Roanoke County Fire and EMS Chief Steve Simon, Vinton Finance Director Anne Cantrell, Bob Wingfield, and the “A Shift” career staff from Vinton Fire and EMS.
First Aid Crew Chief Wayne Guffey thanked members of the crew and their families for giving 23,000 man-hours of service to the community in the past fiscal year. The organization has added 17 new members in that time; had a unit in service an impressive 99 percent of the time; had a unit marked up over 5,500 hours; and responded to 83 percent of the calls dispatched. Five calls responded to in June involved reviving patients.
Guffey said that the volunteer crew members pride themselves on working extremely well with the career staff that shares the station in Vinton, and those across the region, to provide the best level of care to the public.
Chief Simon commended the Vinton First Aid Crew for recently being named the Outstanding EMS Agency in the region for 2018 by the Western Virginia EMS Council. He currently serves as the president of the council.
The winner of this award “must exemplify outstanding professionalism and service to the community, whose high level of patient care is evident by innovative training, community awareness, preventive health programs, public relations efforts, and participation in local, regional, and statewide EMS systems.” The selected EMS organization is directly responsible for responding to emergencies or disasters, providing the direct delivery of care.
At the regional awards ceremony, the Vinton First Aid Crew was described as “outstanding EMS agency comprised of more than 50 volunteers. While volunteer personnel are difficult to obtain and sustain, this agency has done just that. They are extremely active in the community logging over 40 EMS standbys for area schools and training 337 citizens in CPR and basic first aid, while answering 1163 volunteer calls in the past fiscal year. This organization is dedicated to providing the best service possible to the community and citizens they serve.”
“The leadership team does a great job,” said Simon. “There are not too many as good as Vinton. They are true partners within the system and work seamlessly with the career staff.”
Simon said that while many volunteer organizations are “graying out,” the Vinton First Aid Crew is bringing in new blood with young members.
Chief Guffey credited the regional award to teamwork and the dedication of all members of the crew— “everyone plays a role. Effort plus hard work equals reward.”
Guffey thanked Vinton Town Council for including the purchase of a McGrath Laryngoscope for the First Aid Crew in the budget. The equipment has a camera that allows the medic (paramedics and EMT-1) to see the vocal cords and pass the breathing tube quickly, so an airway can be obtained. There has been a change in medical protocols giving each agency’s Operational Medical Director (OMD) the choice of whether to let First Aid Crew medics intubate.
“Our OMD is going to let us continue to intubate, which is a skill to obtain and maintain an airway when a patient is not breathing,” said Guffey. “In order to make this an easier and faster skill, our OMD and I have decided that we should have a McGrath Laryngoscope to assist in obtaining an airway.”
Guffey also thanked Roanoke County for purchasing an ATV for the Vinton First Aid Crew. The ATV will be used “to transport patients from where we cannot get an ambulance to. It will be used for calls on the greenways, and all the downtown events like Mingle at the Market. It will be used for William Byrd football games since we cannot take a unit on the track. It will also be used for Explore Park as well as for events and rescue calls on the trails.”
He said that one goal for the coming year is “reinventing” the First Aid Crew Auxiliary, which in the past supported the First Aid Crew with fundraisers.
Vinton Town Manager Barry Thompson thanked the members for their dedication to the community.
“My own family had to use your services,” said Thompson. “I can’t put words to it; you are always here when we need you. We appreciate you so much.”
Officers for 2018-2019 who were installed by Vinton Mayor Brad Grose include:
- Rescue Chief Wayne Guffey
- President Mitch Vaughan
- Vice-President and Sergeant Jason Peters
- Assistant Rescue Chief Chris Sayre
- Captain Brandan Arthur
- First Lieutenant for Training Megan Sayre
- Second Lieutenant for Mechanical/Medical Josh Parker
- Treasurer Sydney Myers
- Assistant to the Treasurer Doug Adams
- Secretary Sandy Sayre
- Chaplain Tom Philpott
- Public Information Officer Katelyn Parker
- Registered Agent Doug Adams
Members of the Board of Directors were also recognized: Chief Guffey, Mitch Vaughan, Jason Peters, Chris Sayre, Sydney Myers, Doug Adams, Sandy Sayre, Tom Philpott, Dave Chopski, Lura Lee Albertson, Bob Wingfield, Galen Conner, Chris McCarty, Albin Hammond, Bob Patterson, Joe Spigel, and Mike Chewning.
Katelyn Parker was named “Rookie of the Year,” as chosen by the leadership. Brandan Arthur was named “Officer of the Year,” voted on by the membership. Two VFAC “Members of the Year” were chosen by the membership: Megan Sayre and Tom Philpott.
Several members were recognized for their years of service with pins presented. Recipients of one-year pins were: Kasi Abell, Crystal Aliamo, Lissa Alley, Melissa Andersen, Chase Caldwell, Michael Easterling, Morgan Elkins, Megan Fisk, Brandi Guilliams, Katelyn Parker, Matthew Skinner, Gareth Stephenson, Ethan Sweeney, Whitney Tickle, and Daniel Whitcomb.
Members who received five-year service pins were: Sandy Sayre, Brandan Arthur, and Marrett Gilfus. Steve Thrasher has achieved 40 years of service.
First Aid crew members who have completed their probationary period and received their badges at the installation banquet include: Katelyn Parker, Sandy Sayre, Melissa Andersen, and Taylor Ralph.
Current First Aid Crew members include: Kasi Abell, Doug Adams, Aaron Albertson, Crystal Aliamo, Lissa Alley, Beth Andersen, Melissa Andersen, Anna Arthur, Brandan Arthur, Trevor Ayersman, Brandon Bushnell, Chase Caldwell, Desaray Cheatwood, Michael Easterling, Morgan Elkins, Jordan Fifer, Megan Fisk, Marrett Gilfus, Sandy Guffey, Wayne Guffey, Brandi Guilliams, Malari Hicks, Josette McMillan, Greg Meinel, Sydney Myers, Joshua Parker, Katelyn Parker, Jason Peters, Tom Philpott, Sarah Polan, Bradord Postles, Trey Postles, Taylor Ralph, Cody Rock, Bill Rogers, Teresa Rogers, Megan Sayre, Chris Sayre, Sandy Sayre, Tracy Schult, Noah Seaman, Caroline Sizemore, Matthew Skinner, Sierra Spradlin, Gareth Stephenson, Ethan Sweeney, Richard Szymceyk, Steve Thrasher, Whitney Tickle, Shang Tyler, Mitch Vaughan, Nicole Vincent, Daniel Whitcomb, Hannah Widener and Peyton Youngblood.
Caterers for the Installation of Officers Banquet were from Country Kitchen Catering in Christiansburg. Chaplain Philpott offered the blessing for the meal, asking for “wisdom and guidance for the crew in the coming year.”