Vinton First Aid Crew volunteers recognized for 25+ years of service

By Debbie Adams

Roanoke County Fire and Rescue recently recognized volunteer members who had given more than 25 years of service to the Vinton First Aid Crew.

The awards were planned for the spring of 2020, but the Covid pandemic delayed presentations until now.

Eight members had accumulated a total of 327 years of volunteer service including:

  • Sydney Myers, with an amazing 65 years of service
  • Tom Philpott, 48 years
  • Doug Adams, 48 years (posthumously awarded to his daughter, Donna Adams Phillips, and his son, Mike Adams)
  • Mitch Vaughan, 46 years
  • Wayne Guffey, 34 years
  • Sandy Guffey, 31 years
  • Greg Meinel, 28 years
  • Jason Peters, 27 years
Sydney Myers has served on the Vinton First Aid Crew for 65 years. (photos submitted)


Doug Adams served on the Vinton First Aid Crew for 48 years. His award was presented posthumously to his daughter Donna Adams Phillips and his son, Mike Adams. Adams also served the community on Vinton Town Council.


Shown left to right are Vinton First Aid Crew volunteers Mitch Vaughan, Jason Peters, and Chief Tom Philpott. Vaughan has been a volunteer for 46 years, Peters for 27 years, and Philpott for 48 years.


Greg Meinel has been a volunteer for the Vinton First Aid Crew for 28 years.


Sandy Guffey has served the Vinton community as a First Aid Crew volunteer for 31 years; Wayne Guffey for 34 years.

The Vinton First Aid Crew was founded in 1939 and celebrated their 80th anniversary in 2019. Their motto has long been “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” from John 15:13.

According to “Roanoke County Fire and Rescue: A Reflection of 150 years,” on October 5, 1939, eighteen men with a strong desire to help their friends and neighbors in need met in the basement of Vinton Baptist and officially established the Vinton First Aid Crew, Inc., as one of the first sixteen volunteer first aid organizations in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Herman L. Horn was elected to serve as the first president.

“Their beginnings were humble,” the book states. Members “relied on personal vehicles and a 1934 panel truck, a donated first aid kit, and a few pieces of homemade equipment.”

The crew received its first “real” piece of equipment on December 2, 1939—an H & H inhalator donated by Sam Oakey of Oakey’s Funeral Service.

The Vinton First Aid Crew assists with all types of calls ranging from assisting the Fire Department with house fires to natural disasters, to car wrecks, to assisting someone who has fallen or needs their vitals checked—in Vinton, East Roanoke County, and beyond. They assist as standbys at William Byrd High School football games.

Current officers are Chief and Chaplain Tom Philpott, Assistant Chief Chris Sayre, Captain Mitch Vaughan, First Lieutenant Megan Sayre, Second Lieutenant Chase Caldwell, Sergeant and Interim President Jason Peters, Treasurer Sydney Myers, Secretary Sandy Sayre, and Public Relations Officer Brandan Arthur.

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