On September 12, 1969 a young teenage couple were involved in a tragic automobile accident on NC Highway 18 just outside of Sparta, NC. They had become entrapped in the vehicle and were in need of rescue and advanced medical care. Unfortunately, there were no emergency medical services or specialized rescue services in existence in Alleghany County at that time. Due to this fact, the couple were trapped for almost 2 1/2 hours before being extricated and taken to the hospital, where they lost their lives. This horrible tragedy would in turn lead to the formation of the Alleghany County Rescue Squad.
From the beginning, Alleghany County Rescue Squad was a community effort. Upon seeing a need for trained rescue and emergency medical services, many citizens of Alleghany took the initiative to start the squad. Mr. Melvin Miles took to the radio and newspapers to bring attention to this need, and multiple citizens of the county responded as willing volunteers. The first meeting was held less than two weeks after the tragic accident on September 23, 1969.
Quickly, the organization took shape. By October 1969, officers were elected and there were 43 members. Training sessions in first aid were started in October and completed by November. Rescue training started in February of 1970. Fund raising efforts included an auction at WCOK radio station, a house-to-house canvas, a letter drive to churches and many donations from citizens. By March, the squad had raised enough money to get a rescue truck - a Chevrolet Suburban that would come to be known as "301".
Initially, the rescue squad did not have their own base from which to work. The members gathered at Alleghany Farm Equipment, where their equipment was stored. The only method of communication was phone lines installed in the home of Roscoe Evans and at Alleghany Farm Equipment. The phone line was moved as needed with elections, and dispatch of calls was handled this way. A CB radio was donated in 1971 and a CB radio tower installed at Alleghany Farm Equipment.
In March 1972, the squad discovered what would become their most popular fundraiser and a long-standing tradition when they held their very first monthly chicken BBQ. In 1973, the squad, with the help of the county commissioners, initiated establishment of the county's first emergency radio communications on Green Mountain. By 1974, the squad was using radio communications and had moved into the Sparta Fire Department's old building. The squad's first building of their own was built in 1975 on Cox Street. This building was later to be shared with the newly established paid ambulance service, Alleghany County EMS - in 1977. The squad moved into their current building on Trojan Avenue in 1987.
Today, the Alleghany County Rescue Squad strives to meet the needs of our county through emergency services including technical rescue, advanced life support first response, back-up for Alleghany County EMS, public education efforts, and community outreach. We are ever-evolving with changes in technology, equipment, rescue techniques, medical advances, communications, regulations, and public needs. By remembering our past and the reasons for our formation, we can continue to prepare for our future.