On December 17, 1950, a group of six men, headed by Harlan Senger, held an organizational meeting and formed the Waynesboro Fire Department Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. The original members, in addition to Harlan, were J.T. Phillips, B. Wade, A.T. Crickenberger, E.E. Talley, and E.C. Reardon. These men began answering emergency calls in early 1951. The first ambulance was a well-used Ford panel truck donated by Paul Freed, Inc. and was known throughout the community as “The Green Hornet.” In March of 1951, Etters Funeral Home donated a14-foot aluminum boat as well. In June of 1951, VEPCO donated 300 feet of manila rope for rescue operations. The Crew’s original run area was to the north to and including Grottoes, to the west to Brand Flats area outside of Staunton, to the east to Ivy and Nelson County, and to the south to Raphine. The other rescue squads at this time were Lexington, Staunton, and Harrisonburg.
It was realized that funds were necessary for the operation of the crew, and so on April 2, 1951 the first Fund Drive was launched to raise $6,000. After hard work and intensive solicitation they had raised a grand total of $56 dollars by May 10, 1951. It was very clear that this fund drive was going to be an uphill battle to sell the needs of this new service to the community. Some members used their own bed sheets from home on the ambulance cot or personal money to fuel the units. One member was fired from his job when he left to answer an emergency call.
The Crew was first housed in the Waynesboro Fire Department, where space was very limited and EMS as we know it today was always the last in line! The Crew broke ground for our first Squad building in the spring of 1965. Dedication services for the building were held on May 22, 1966. At that time the building had a $10,000 mortgage but was paid off in eighteen months. In 1972 the crew building was expanded, and volunteer staffing increased to man the building 24/7. We again expanded our building as well as our advanced life support (ALS) services in 1990.
On July 19, 1972, the Crew started our Coronary Care Unit service to heart attack patients in conjunction with a highly-trained nurse from the cardiac care department of Waynesboro Hospital. With Dr. Gorsuch heading this system up, we had early saves due to this service. At the time, Waynesboro and Charlottesville were the only two rescue squads in the state offering this service.
In 2006 we introduced a new program called revenue recovery to help offset the rising costs of offering state-of-the-art emergency medical services to our citizens. Over 50 years ago, we started with one used panel truck as an ambulance; we now have five modern ALS-equipped ambulances, one heavy-duty rescue truck, a rapid response vehicle, and a water rescue boat.
In 2009 we decided to supplement Volunteerism with Career Staff members, prior to this decision, for the past 58 years the Crew was 100% Volunteer.
On January 1, 2010 at 0600 hours, for the first time in the history of the Crew, a combination of Volunteers and Career Staff Members started working together to achieve our mission “To provide the best quality pre-hospital emergency care and rescue services to the citizens of Waynesboro and surrounding areas.”