Our Family Serving Your FamilyBlock Number: 97
By Terry Wilson
One of the many aspects of life in the early days of our country was the dependence that neighbors placed upon one another. In times of need, citizens depended upon the skills and labors of their neighbors to help them see their way through any crisis, large or small, which might arise.
Be it a barn raising in the Amish fields of Pennsylvania, a corn shucking in the hills of North Carolina, or a communal wheat harvest in the great fields of Kansas, the tradition was simple, neighbor helped neighbor and could expect to be helped in return.
Many years have passed since the days of barn raisings and corn shuckings being commonplace events in our society. However, in areas of our nation, the ideal behind these events remains strong, even in our hurried and often frenetic world of today.
McDowell Countys citizens can easily speak of this “helping-hand” spirit by giving notice to the services offered by the members of the McDowell County Rescue Squad. The headquarters of the Rescue Squad can be found in a non-descript building on a quiet side street in Marion. From this building, at all hours, volunteers continue to answers the call to serve their neighbors, much as their ancestors did.
The McDowell County Rescue Squad was formed in 1958 and chartered by the state of North Carolina as a functioning agency in 1959. The formation of the Rescue Squad was a direct result of a food poisoning incident, which occurred at the now long closed Cross Mill School. Numerous children developed food poisoning while at school and were transported by private citizens to the local hospital for treatment. It was after this event that the need for a trained rescue unit became apparent. The local Rescue Squad was formed to meet this need with George Brown serving as the first Chief of the Squad.
Today the Rescue Squad stands ready to answer calls for assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Services offered extend from “carryouts” of injured hikers from Linville Gorge to rescue of entrapped motorists in vehicle accidents on Interstate-40, and to all the nameless incidents and accidents, which occur throughout McDowell County.
Todays Squad has over 30 members who are highly trained both in the fields of emergency medicine and rescue techniques. The men and women respond to their neighbors need whenever the situation arises, this continuing the time-honored tradition of the barn-raisers and corn-shuckers of an era long past.
Recently the McDowell County Rescue Squad joined the ever-growing McDowell Quilt Trail by having a quilt block created for their headquarters building at 200 State Street, which they named “Our Family Serving Your Family.” Members of the Rescue Squad selected the design and color scheme of the quilt block themselves. The design features a pattern highlighting the “jaws of life,” a tool used by Squad members when they extricate victims of severe automobile crashes. The pattern of the block features 8 of the "jaws of life” tools. The color scheme of the block highlights two colors: safety green and medical cross blue. These two colors were requested by Squad members, due to the fact that they are currently featured on Squad vehicles. In a bit of irony, the Squads quilt block is the 97th member of the McDowell Quilt Trail, and the identification number of the McDowell County Rescue Squad is “97.”
The quilt block was constructed and painted by Mike Lucas, and assisting Mr. Lucas with the chore of hanging the quilt block for viewing was Jack Raker. Present at the dedication of the block were Chief Chad Robinson, Lt. Ricky Wright, and Bruce Messer all representing the Rescue Squad, as Jill Lucas, chairperson of the McDowell Quilt Trail, presented the Certificate of Authenticity.
The McDowell Quilt Trail is a recognized and growing feature of McDowell County. Throughout the county, schools, businesses, governmental agencies, and private individuals all are using the quilt trail to highlight their histories and to tell their specific stories. Soon 100 of these vibrant quilt blocks will cross the landscape of McDowell County, and there is still room for more. September and October would be the ideal time to plan a Christmas gift of a quilt block for that special someone.