Shawsville Volunteer Rescue Squad was once known as the Alleghany District Volunteer Life Saving Crew. This crew began its service to the eastern end of Montgomery County at 7am on July 4, 1964. The crew was the 95th such squad established in the state of Virginia. Grant E Bryant, an Elliston funeral home owner and operator, worked diligently for seven years to form what is today known as the Shawsville Volunteer Rescue Squad. Mr. Bryant had long believed that an organization other than his would be better suited to handle emergency calls in the area. He finally convinced members of the community that their service was needed in March of 1964, and officially handed off rescue duties from his funeral home business to this group in July of 1964. According to an article written by the Roanoke Times, the Alleghany District Volunteer Life Saving Crew was Montgomery County’s first such rural group.
Members were introduced and officers were installed by Glenn Simmers, President of the Salem Crew, at the banquet in their honor at the Elliston Lafayette Elementary School on July 24, 1964. Mr. Simmers likened the work the rescue squad does to that of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. Julian S. Wise, who founded the nation’s first lifesaving crew in Roanoke, in 1928, was the guest speaker at the affair. According to the crew documentation, Mr. Wise told the 14 members of the new crew, “Human life is in your hands. The people who call you assume you have a very good idea of what you are doing.” Realizing the seriousness of the situations these men would encounter, Mr. Wise, the man who pioneered what is now a national expectation for emergency medical services, urged the crew members to “use good judgment and to be alert.” He also advocated the need for education and for remaining informed of new techniques and developments. He stressed “Cooperation with police and doctors.”
Neighboring Roanoke, Salem and Fort Lewis crews also donated equipment and time to the newly formed organization. These first members received their 16 weeks intensive first aid training at Roanoke County’s Fort Lewis Rescue Squad. Several education classes followed as they progressed with their training.
Mr. Bryant donated two vehicles to be used as ambulances. These ambulances were housed at the funeral home until a permanent location was found. According to historical archives of the crew, a Wytheville woman heard of the area’s desire to begin a volunteer rescue squad and send the first donation–$1.
The first officers of the Alleghany District Volunteer Life Saving Crew installed in July of 1964 were Grant E. Bryant, President; Marvin Alls, Captain; Frank Johnson, First Lieutenant;W. W. Wallace, Vice President and Second Lieutenant; Larry Atkinson, Sergeant; Charlie Davis, Treasurer; Donn Harr, secretary; and Virgil Sarver, Chaplain. Frank Wills served as legal advisor, and Dr. George Smith, Jr., and Dr. Clarence Taylor, Jr., served as medical advisors.
Today’s Shawsville Volunteer Rescue Squad is still ALL VOLUNTEER! We are located at 6620 Roanoke Road in beautiful downtown Shawsville, Virginia. We take pride in our community and the service we provide. We have 20 active, probationary, junior, driver only, and associate members. Volunteer help is ALWAYS needed. If you have an interest, please stop by the station or call us to get more information. Our applications are also available on our website under the “Volunteering” tab. If you have any questions, please call 540-268-5414.