Lynchburg, VA - The Lynchburg Lifesaving Crew has been serving the community for 80 years now.
Saturday, the crew celebrated the achievement.
Over the years, the Lynchburg Lifesaving Crew has responded to countless calls, saved many lives, and now teaches classes like CPR. There have been a lot of changes in their 80 years of existence, but one thing has remained the same: their care for the community.
"We have a very proud long history here," said Kristin Morgan who is the President of the Board of the Lynchburg Lifesaving Crew.
It all started in 1934, the third oldest all volunteer rescue squad in the country. Eleven men volunteered to form the Lynchburg Lifesaving and First Aid Crew after a huge fire downtown that killed six firefighters and left 13 injured.
"We had no rescue. Fire-fighters were firefighters, police were police," said Morgan.
Since then, community members and local businesses have donated to help support them. From the first "ambulance," a hearse donated from a funeral home, to the headquarters they built through funding from donations.
"We were solely funded by citizens and corporations in the area to keep us running and functioning," said Morgan.
The crew integrated with the fire department in 2002, and ran 911 calls until the city pulled them from the E-911 system in 2012; but that didn't shut them down.
"Since then we've continued to save lives, just in a different way," said Morgan.
Now the headquarters serves as a community center where they teach classes like CPR and First Aid.
"Those first few minutes are absolutely critical and to be able to provide the training for people in a very affordable, professional manner, I think is the only way currently that we can continue to serve the citizens," said Morgan.
Morgan said Saturday night past and present crew members attended the party to celebrate their 80th anniversary. They gave away three scholarships to students working to advance their education in emergency response training. If you want to learn more, you can here.