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Nelson Co. Rescue Squad reflects on 54 years of service after decision to shut down

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NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WSET) -- More than five decades after the first truck rolled out, the Nelson County Rescue Squad will make its last run later this year.

They now flip through the pages of time, as they close in on the final chapter.

"It's an unhappy moment, but it's not one that we didn't expect," said Chris Striker, the president and first lieutenant of the Nelson County Rescue Squad.

"It's a sad time, but when you can't do what you should be doing, it's a choice you have to make," said Captain Stevie Ashley.

They said there's just not enough people to run the operation. It's harder to get volunteers, and the requirements for becoming an EMT have increased.

"My partner passed away last month, and my driver had to move out of the area," said Bill Keene, the squad's vice president. "It's life events and people have to step down, but there just haven't been people coming in to replace them."

The crew reflected over the people who served the community for years, the countless bingo and gospel concert fundraisers and sacrificing for others.

"Even if they weren't assigned to that particular shift, there were people who would run out and be able to run the calls, and that was great. The comradery could not be matched," said Striker.

"There's wonderful, giving, caring folks that have devoted an awful lot of time and energy to the organization over the years," Keene said.

The squad plans to distribute all the assets to other volunteer rescue squads and fire departments. They also said the other agencies are equipped to handle the calls and maintain the response times.

While the rescue squad is going away, the memories will live on.

"I've just met people I never would have met otherwise, and you know, it's just been a real privilege to work with some of these folks," said Keene.

They would love to see the squad revived in the future, but they're not very optimistic that can happen.

The Nelson County Rescue Squad will roll out for the last time at the end of April.

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