Va. rescue squad, founded in 1928, recognized with historical marker
The Roanoke Life Saving and First Aid Crew has been recognized as the first independent, all-volunteer rescue squad in the United States
By Laura French
ROANOKE, Va. — A Virginia volunteer rescue squad formed 92 years ago was honored with a historical marker at the site of its first station.
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources approved the installation of the permanent marker for the Roanoke Life Saving and First Aid Crew in June, and it was unveiled at a ceremony on Tuesday near Oakey's Funeral Home and Crematory, where the squad kept its first ambulance following its formation in 1928, according to WDBJ 7.
"The Roanoke Life Saving and First Aid Crew, organized in May 1928 by Julian Stanley Wise, is recognized as the first independent, all-volunteer rescue squad in the United States," the marker reads. "Wise, motivated by having seen two men drown in the Roanoke River during his childhood, was later president of the International Rescue and First Aid Association."
Members of the Roanoke squad went on to help organize rescue squads throughout the state and beyond. The Roanoke crew merged with Williamson Road Life Saving Crew in 1989, forming Roanoke Emergency Medical Services.