Praising 25 years of rescue

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

As late as the early 1980s, there was no such thing as immediate response to an emergency. The closest ambulance was 30 minutes away.

Thankfully, a group of dedicated volunteers set out to fill the gap and never looked back. The Southeast Shelby County Rescue team celebrates its 25th year this month.

The 33 members range in age from late teens to early 50s and work for hospitals, power companies, fire departments and pest control services.

A group that received 80 calls in its first year now responds to about 150 in a month, more than 1,800 annually. It serves about 7,000 homes and 20,000 residents.

Besides making themselves available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, members also pay the bulk of their own training costs and set aside time each week for rescue refreshers and updates.

They are the first to arrive at scenes of mangled metal, and they tenderly respond to our grandmothers when they fall. They deliver babies and forfeit weekends to watch over area football teams.

&8220;They don&8217;t even know these people, but they&8217;re going to do whatever they can to make sure they&8217;re taken care of,&8221; said Chuck Payne, board of directors president.

For people so integral to our well-being, they are often forgotten. Payne admits they don&8217;t get many thank yous.

Understandably, an emergency situation is not the ideal time to gush praises and gratitude. Instead, walk down to the fence at Friday&8217;s game, and give the rescue crew your thanks for watching over your son, just incase.

Or if you&8217;ve ever thought about volunteering, check it out and help an already strained team that faces continued rapid growth in its area. And there&8217;s always a certain thanks that donations show, not just for past services, but also for the trust they&8217;ll be there in the future.

Just remember, they sacrifice parts of their lives because they may need to save yours