History of the Kent - Queen Anne's Rescue Squad
In the spring of 1960 rumors were that a rescue squad was forming in Chestertown. Until now, rescue services were nearly non-existent, and ambulance service was provided by the local funeral home of Willis Wells. In the April 26 edition of the Kent County News a formal announcement appeared that such an organization was indeed being planned for the community. A group of local men led by local physician Dr. Thomas J. Solon began the task of putting this much needed group together and served as Chief in 1960 and 1961.
The group looked at other rescue squads already formed in the state to get ideas of how they operated. Medical training would be conducted by Dr. Solon. Rescue training was to be conducted by Chief Edwin E. “Boots” Raynor of the Rivera Beach Volunteer Fire company in Anne Arundel County. A rescue truck was loaned by Civil Defense and a used ambulance was purchased from the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad in Prince George’s County. Until a permanent station could be constructed, the equipment was housed at a garage owned by member Barclay Bloomgarden just south of town, Members were summoned by phone to answer calls.
By May of 1960 the training was complete and equipment was in place. On May 26, 1960 the first call was answered. The call was for a serious motor vehicle collision on U.S. 301 at MD 19 just east of the town of Church Hill in Queen Anne’s County. Although this MVC resulted in two fatalities several others survived due to the quick actions of the Squad.
In 1961 the Kent & Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad answered 120 calls for service.
In 1962 Barclay Bloomgarden was elected Chief. Also that year an auxiliary was formed to help with fundraising. On June 27th of that year a demonstration was held at the Salem United Methodist Church in Fairlee. This gave the Squad an opportunity to show the community what they were all about. In 1962 the Squad answered 165 calls for service
In 1963 Paul S. Adams was elected Chief. For the past several years the Squad had been using a borrowed rescue truck from Civil Defense. In August 1963 a new rescue truck arrived and was placed in service. This unit was an International/Swab Heavy Rescue. It carried all essential rescue equipment and also was capable of transporting patients. The Civil Defense rescue unit was returned.
In 1964 Paul S. Adams was re- elected Chief. It was a position he would hold for the next fifteen (15) years. The Squad would finally have a permanent home this year. A small building was built on Cross Street across from the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Co. This site is now the parking lot for the Kent County Court House. A carnival was held from June 29 to July 6 to help raise funds. It was a joint effort between Squad and theFrank M. Jarman American Legion Post in Chestertown. The Frank Jarman Post has always been a strong supporter of the Squad and we thank these dedicated veterans for their financial support through the years.
In March of 1965 one of the largest fires ever in Chestertown occurred. On a cold windy night nearly an entire block of the downtown business district was destroyed. The Squad was kept busy treating firefighters and keeping them warm. In 1965 the Squad answered 150 calls for service.
1966 saw the burning of the mortgage for the Rescue Truck as well as business as usual for the Squad. 208 calls were answered in 1966. On March 2, 1967 a new ambulance was placed in service. The unit was a 1967 International/Springfield ambulance. The unit was purchased from Jewell Brothers in Chestertown and brought the total number of units operated by the Squad to three (3).
In 1968 the Squad answered 212 calls for service.
By 1970 the Squad had all but outgrown it’s tiny headquarters on Cross Street. Options for a new building were being explored. That year a parcel of land on the recently opened Chestertown Bypass was donated to the Squad by Baltimore Business Forms. Plans for a new building were drawn up. The building would be a 50’ by 65’ brick building. It would contain a meeting room, aradio room, a chief’s office, restrooms, a storage room, and three (3) apparatus bays. Member Omar Thompson built the building along with labor from many of the members. Ground was broken on October 3, 1970 and the Squad moved into the new station in March of 1971.
1971 saw the training of the first EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) Chief Paul S.
Adams, who was one of the first EMT Instructors trained in the state, conducted the training.
In 1972, with help from the county, the Squad purchased their first hydraulic rescue tool. The tool was a “Jaws of Life” manufactured by the Hurst Company of Warminster , PA. The tool consisted of a gasoline power unit, spreaders, and a cutter. Training was conducted by Chief Edwin E. “Boots” Raynor of the Rivera Beach Volunteer Fire Company in Anne Arundel County. The tool was placed on the heavy rescue and called for many times outside of our first due area to assist other fire companies.
In March of 1974 a new ambulance was placed in service. The unit was a 1974 Dodge Horton ambulance. It was the first modular ambulance placed in service by the Squad. The 1957 GMC ambulance purchased from the Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad was retired. In `1975 the Squad answered 310 calls for service.
In 1976 member Michael Schauber was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident. Later that year the flagpole at the front of the building was dedicated in his memory. The flagpole was donated by Michael’s grandfather, Mr. Adam Schauber.
In March of 1977 a new Dodge/Yankee Coach ambulance was delivered. The unit was the the first ambulance sold by First State Ambulances after recently going in business. This purchase was also the beginning of a long friendship between the Squad and First State owner Harry Siegel. The 1967 International/Springfield ambulance was retired. In 1977 the Squad answered 432 calls for service
In 1978 the 1963 Heavy Rescue was rehabbed and repainted. An orange stripe and a new lighting package was added. The work was done by Patrick’s Body Shop, Chestertown. All Squad apparatus would now be painted white with an Omaha Orange stripe.
In the spring of 1979 a Chevrolet suburban was added to the fleet. The unit would serve a dual purpose. It would tow the boats and be used to transport patients during inclement weather. The unit was purchased from Don Kelly Chevrolet in Chestertown and outfitted by First State Ambulances in St. Georges, Delaware.
On December 9, 1979 the Kent & Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad suffered a tragic loss. Chief Paul S. Adams Sr. died after suffering a massive heart attack. Paul was one of the first EMT instructors in the state and had trained many of the EMT’s in the area. Paul was well respected by all who knew him. It was his passion to share his knowledge with others. His loss was felt throughout the upper shore region. His presence around the Squad was sadly missed and his shoes were not easily filled.
In 1980 Robert B. “Bob” Rust was elected Chief of the Squad. It was a position he would hold for the next 11 (eleven) years. For many years the Squad had provided EMS service to the Betterton-Still Pond-Colemans Area. In 1981 the Betterton Volunteer Fire Company acquired Chevrolet Suburban from the Tennaco Chemical Company. The unit was equipped with BLS equipment. Betterton began responding to medical calls in their first due area. Many times Betterton would have patients packaged and ready to transport by the time the Squad arrived. The Kent & Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad has always maintained a great working relationship with the Betterton Volunteer Fire Company.
In 1985 a new ambulance, a 1985 Ford/Yankee Coach ambulance was placed in service. The unit was purchased from First State Ambulances in St. Georges, Delaware. The 1974 Dodge/Horton ambulance was retired.
In 1988 a new van style ambulance was delivered. The unit was a 1988 Ford/Yankee Coach ambulance. It was delivered in June and placed in service in July. The 1977 Dodge/Yankee Coach was retired. In December the annual Christmas party was held at the Old Wharf Inn.
1990 saw the first CRT’s (Cardiac Rescue Technician) were trained by Cecil County EMS in Elkton. The Squad was now equipped to provide ALS for the first time in it’s history. After eleven years as our Chief, Robert B. “Bob” Rust announced he would not seek the nomination for 1991. The annual Christmas Party was held at the Frank M. Jarman American Legion Post. Outgoing Chief Bob Rust was honored for his service to the Squad.
Dr. James R. Siemen would serve as Chief for 1991. In July an order was placed for a 1991 22 foot Seahawk Boat. The Boat arrived in August and placed in service as soon as training was completed. A Dive Team was also formed that year. The dive team was a joint effort between the Squad and the Betterton Volunteer Fire Company. Two additional apparatus bays were added to the rear of the building that year to house the boat and dive team equipment.
Alex Dolgos was elected chief in 1992. Alex would serve as chief for the next six years. In 1992 the Squad also appointed a committee to investigate the purchase of a new rescue truck. The 1963 International/Swab was in dire need of replacement.
In 1993 a new ambulance was delivered. The unit was a 1993 Freightliner/Medtec heavy duty style ambulance. The 1985 Ford/Yankee Coach was retired. After much planning a contract was signed for a new GMC/American Fire/Rescue medium duty rescue truck. Delivery was expected in August of 1994.
In August of 1994 the GMC/American Fire/Rescue was delivered. It featured a walk-in box with a bench seat and wall mounted SCBA’s. The unit was also equipped with four wheel drive, It carried equipment for vehicle rescue as well as our dive equipment. The 1963 International/Swab was retired and sold to a company in New Jersey.
In 1995, with help from the Prudential Insurance Company, the Squad was able to purchase their first Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The AED was presented to the Squad by former member Charlie Carter.
In November of 1997 a new Wells-Cargo Trailer was placed in service. The trailer could be used to rehab firefighters, and can also be used as a command post. It is also used as a first aid station at many community events such as the Chestertown Tea Party held everyMemorial Day Weekend. Also in 1997 the County began funding a paid ALS provider. Kent County Sheriff Deputy and Squad member Jonathan P. Longest would serve in this capacity.
In 1998 William T. “Bill” Lobley was elected Chief. Bill would serve as Chief for 2 years. A 1998 Dodge Durango was placed in service. The unit could be used as a “take home” vehicle for our ALS personnel or used to transport additional personnel to incidents after the ambulance has responded. The unit was purchased through Gambacorta Chrysler`Dodge in Chestertown. Air bags were added to the rescue truck this year as well.
In 2000 Eric S. Jackson was elected Chief. It was a position he would hold for the next 6 years. The turn of the century found the number of calls drastically increasing and a need was determined for a third ambulance. A 1993 Ford/Medtec ambulance was purchased from the Snow Hill Volunteer Fire Company in Worcester County and placed in service.
In 2001 a large addition was added to the existing building as well as an addition to the rear bays completed in 1991. The new addition included three new offices, a fully functioning kitchen, an exercise room, and a lounge complete with a big screen TV. The old office area was remodeled to create a larger work area for personnel to complete reports after calls.
In February 2002 a new rescue truck was delivered. The Unit was a 2002 Freightliner/American Lafrance Heavy Rescue. The unit was purchased from DPC in Marydel, DE. The 1994 GMC/American Fire Rescue was retired and sold to a fire company in Pennsylvania, where it remains in service today.
In 2003 new energy efficient overhead doors were placed on the front bays replacing the doors from 1971. Also in 2003 all members actively riding Rescue 8 were fitted with new turnout gear.
In 2004 the Squad placed three new pieces of equipment in service. A new Rescue Connector boat was purchased. The boat has a flat bottom and is ideal for the many ponds and shallow tributaries in our first due area. A 2004 “Mule” ATV was purchased from Hoober Equipment in Middletown, DE. The ATV is used to gain access to patients in remote areas and for EMS coverage at local events. A 1993 Ford/F350 utility was also placed in service. The utility is used to tow either boat or the ATV. It also carries the dive equipment and ice rescue gear. It was purchased from Easton Ford and outfitted by DPC Marydel, DE. A committee was also formed this year to investigate the possible hire a career EMT for daytime. With day calls increasing and day manpower shortages a career person seemed a practical solution. The committee presented its finding and the position was approved. Coverage began in November 2004. Evening, night and weekend coverage was still covered by the volunteers.
In September of 2004 a new ambulance was placed in service. The unit was a 2005 Ford Lifeline ambulance, The unit was sold by DPC Marydel, DE. The 1993 Ford/Medtech purchased from Snow Hill was retired. In December an emergency signal light was installed at our station’s entrance to Morgnec Road (MD 291). The light allows safer exit from our apron to Morgnec Road.
In March of 2005 a new ambulance was delivered. The unit was a 2005 Ford/Lifeline identical to the 2005 placed in service in September 2004. The 1988 Ford/Yankee Coach was retired and donated to Mobile County EMS in Alabama, an area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
In 2006 Allan Schauber was elected Chief of the Squad and continues to hold that position today.
In 2008 the Squad purchased a new 2008 GMC Yukon. The 1979 Chevrolet Suburban was retired and sold to a private party.
In March of 2009 a new ambulance was placed in service. The unit was a 2009 Ford Lifeline ambulance purchased from DPC in Marydel, DE. The 1993 Freightliner Medtech ambulance was retired and donated to the Chestertown Police Department. 2009 also saw a new addition to the rear bays of the building. The far rear bay was now a drive through bay. A large parking lot to the left of our building was also completed.
A committee was formed in the fall of 2009 to begin plans for a 50th anniversary celebration to be held in 2010. Events included a a 50th Anniversary Party held on May 1st at the Frank M. Jarman American Legion Post and a Parade down Chestertown’s High Street on June 5, 2010.