Pam Dudding-Burch Contributing writer
When one has a massive heart attack, a home fire or a terrible car wreck, who are the first persons that are called and expected to respond immediately?
Yes…the faithful First Responders of Craig County! However, did you know that the volunteer base is growing smaller each year? “The number of people volunteering in general is decreasing nationwide and not just in Emergency Services but for everything,” Jim Cady, Emergency Services Coordinator, said. “I think this is because of the two-family-member working situation.”
Sadly, the amount of training and retraining in Fire and Rescue has truly taxed the local volunteer force. “You also have to add to that the growing need for paid services to replace the reduction of volunteers,” Cady said. “This does create good job opportunities to those people that complete the required training; however, these paid job opportunities siphon off many of our remaining volunteers.”
Cady added that this problem continues to grow both nationally as well as in Craig County. Still, citizens of Craig County faithfully serve the community with passion and caring hearts. “I don’t know what we would do if we lost all of our volunteers,” one senior community member shared.
Another added, “It’s different these days as there doesn’t seem to be the interest in volunteering like there used to be.”
Craig County is a fortunate county in that it has several stations to serve its citizens. These are:
Craig County Emergency Services – 415 Conrad Street, New Castle
* Jim Cady, Emergency Services/Emergency Management Coordinator
* Robert Decarolis, Division Chief -EMS (540) 835-7449
* Jeff VanDyke , Division Chief – Fire
Volunteer Fire Departments
* Johns Creek VFD, Station 1 16 Dicks Creek Rd, New Castle – Jonathon Huffman Chief
* Paint Bank Fire and Rescue, Station 2 – 15998 Paint Bank Rd, Paint Bank, VA 24131 –
Richard Hale Chief
* Simmonsville VFD, Station 3 5783 Cumberland Gap Rd, New Castle, Brian Lipes- Chief
* New Castle/Craig County VFD – Station 4 PO Box 155, New Castle, Brent Crush – Chief (540) 580-3360
* Upper Craig Creek VFD – Station 5 4296 Upper Craig Creek Rd, Catawba, VA 24070 Terry Brookman – Chief
*Craig County Rescue Squad- Station 8 – PO Box 81258 Paint Bank RD, New Castle, VA – Robert Wrzosek – Chief
* Craig County Emergency Services Agency # 01309 County Paid Squad- Station 9, 321 Salem Ave, New Castle – Darryl Humphreys- Captain
These stations could use your support financially as well. They are a non-profit entity; therefore your donations are tax deductible.
“They used to come around door to door and ask for donations,” an elderly lady shared. “I know that’s difficult, but some of us just need that reminder to help us remember to give to them.”
Volunteers are needed. “They just need to contact the Fire or Rescue chief in their area or contact Robert Decarolis at the County office,” Cady shared. “There are limited qualifications established by the individual departments.”
All of the Departments in Craig County share this comment, “We’d love to have you join our team!”