Vinton First Aid Crew installs officers at annual banquet

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Officers for the Vinton First Aid Crew for the upcoming fiscal year were installed at a banquet on June 29. From left are: standing, Chief Wayne Guffey, Captain Sandy Guffey, First Lieutenant/Training Brandan Arthur, Second Lieutenant Mechanical/Medical Josh Parker, Vice President and Sergeant Jason Peters, and Assistant to the Treasurer Doug Adams; seated, President Mitch Vaughan, Secretary Teresa Rogers, Chaplain Tom Philpott, and Treasurer Sydney Myers. Absent were Assistant Rescue Chief Chris Sayre, Public Information Officer Jordan Fifer, and Registered Agent Bobby Altice.
Taylor Ralph, shown with Chief Wayne Guffey, was named Vinton First Aid Crew Rookie of the Year.
Brandan Arthur, (right) shown with Chief Wayne Guffey, was named Vinton First Aid Crew Member of the Year.

In the past 12 months, members of the Vinton First Aid Crew have donated 22,576 man-hours of their time to serve the community. They celebrated the past year with a banquet and their 78th annual installation of new officers at the Vinton War Memorial on June 29.

Vinton Town Manager Barry Thompson thanked the First Aid Crew for the “high level of service” to the community. Member Doug Adams recognized guests and dignitaries including Roanoke County Chief of Fire and Rescue Steve Simon, Jason Peters representing the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, members of the Vinton Fire/EMS career staff who team so seamlessly with the volunteers, Police Chief Tom Foster and Deputy Chief Fabricio Drumond, and Vinton Human Resources Director Donna Collins.

Simon and Peters remarked on the dependability and professionalism of the Vinton crew who “set the bar” for the rest of the county.

Chief Foster installed the new slate of officers, but before that he spoke eloquently about the gift his family had received from members of a rescue squad years ago that allowed them “the gift of 20 years” with his father.

Foster’s father was O. S. Foster, who faithfully served Roanoke County as sheriff for five terms— a total of 20 years. The chief said that in 1977 his father had been experiencing back pain for several days and was finally convinced to summon the rescue squad by his wife. It wasn’t back pain; it was a heart attack. He was resuscitated eight times in the ER

“My family got 20 more years with my dad because of folks like you, and you repeat the cycle all the time,” said Foster.

Foster quoted Winston Churchill in praising the First Aid Crew, saying, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Chief Foster thanked the crew members for their continuing efforts in giving the families of others more time with their loved ones.

Officers for 2017-2018 who were installed are:

  • Rescue Chief Wayne Guffey
  • President Mitch Vaughan
  • Vice-President and Sergeant Jason Peters
  • Assistant Rescue Chief Chris Sayre
  • Captain Sandy Guffey
  • First Lieutenant for Training Brandan Arthur
  • Second Lieutenant for Mechanical/Medical Josh Parker
  • Treasurer Sydney Myers
  • Assistant to the Treasurer Doug Adams
  • Secretary Teresa Rogers
  • Chaplain Tom Philpott
  • Public Information Officer Jordan Fifer
  • Registered Agent Bobby Altice

Members of the board of directors were also recognized: Chief Guffey, Mitch Vaughan, Jason Peters, Chris Sayre, Sydney Myers, Doug Adams, Teresa Rogers, Tom Philpott, Bobby Altice, Dave Chopski, Lura-Lee Albertson, Bob Wingfield, Galen Conner, Chris McCarty, Albin Hammond, Bob Patterson, Joe Spigel, and Mike Chewning.

Taylor Ralph was named “Rookie of the Year,” with Brandan Arthur named “Vinton First Aid Crew Member of the Year.”

Years of service were recognized and pins presented including Steve Thrasher, 19.5 years of service; Sandy Guffey, 20.2 years; Greg Meinel and Jason Peters, 25 years; Wayne Guffey, 26 years; Tom Philpott. 45 years; Doug Adams, 46 years, and Sydney Myers, 62.8 years of service.

Chief Guffey shared some statistics for the past fiscal year running from July 2016 to June 30, 2017. The crew had at least one truck marked up for a total of 5,532 hours. They had two units in service for 584 hours and a volunteer unit in service 98 percent of the time. An Advanced Life Support Unit (ALS) was in service 84 percent of that 98 percent time.

During the fiscal year a total of 1,455 calls were dispatched during volunteer hours which is every night and the whole weekend. They responded to 1,161 for 80 percent.

The fractile response time (from the time of dispatch to the time they arrive on the scene) was 8.72 minutes, including town calls and calls in East County. The standard goal is 12 minutes.

The Vinton First Aid Crew has 51 members on the roster, having gained 22 new members during the year.

They trained 250 citizens and businesses in CPR and Basic First Aid over the last year.

Crew President Mitch Vaughan said that the Vinton crew is “bucking the trend” with their increase in membership, rather than the decline many squads are experiencing.

Guffey commented that, very significantly, they are adding younger members who will help sustain the organization in the years to come.

Boy Scouts from Troop 235 were recognized for their hard work at the Vinton Dogwood Festival Parade, helping the crowds to fight the extreme heat by distributing beverages.

Vinton Messenger reporter Debbie Adams was taken completely by surprise and was deeply honored to be named as an Honorary Member of the Vinton First Aid Crew.

Current members of the Vinton First Aid Crew are: Kasi Abell, Doug Adams, Aaron Albertson, Crystal Aliamo, Lissa Alley, Beth Andersen, Melissa Andersen, Anna Arthur, Brandan Arthur, Ginny Bailey, Urmila Bharathan, Brandon Bushnell, Chase Caldwell, Courtney Cherry, Michael Easterling, Morgan Elkins, Jordan  Fifer, Megan Fisk, Marrett Gilfus, Sandy Guffey, Wayne Guffey, Kalynn Javins, Taylor Jones, Andrew Kelley, Nicholas Mattheisen, Greg Meinel, Neil Ashton, Joshua Parker, Katelyn Parker, Jason Peters, Tom Philpott, Sarah Polan, Taylor Ralph, Jonathan Robertson, Bill  Rogers, Will Rogers, Megan Sayre, Chris Sayre, Sandy Sayre, Caroline Sizemore, Matthew Skinner, Gareth Stephenson, Richard Szymceyk, Ashley Thanasouk, Steve Thrasher, Whitney Tickle, Mitch Vaughan, Nicole Vincent, Daniel Whitcomb, and Hannah Widener.

Caterers for the banquet were from Country Cookin’ in Christiansburg.