The History of Graham County
Rescue Squad. On May 4, 1962 a local man drowned in Lake Santeetlah
and when help was called a large group of Graham County men responded,
but without any equipment for dragging. A call was placed to Murphy
for Cherokee County Rescue Squad. The body was recovered early
May 5th. A group of Graham County men decided to organize a Rescue
Squad. No time was wasted and a meeting was held that night in
the City Hall. Twelve men were present; Modeal Walsh, Leonard
Williams, Monroe Sawyer, Lynn Buchanan, Huel Smith, Jesse R. Jenkins,
Marshall Campbell, Doug Campbell, Lowell Garland, Larry Perkins,
Edward Ingram and Heyward Crawford. Modeal Walsh was elected commander.
Next came the problem of raising money for equipment. Raffles for almost everything were held, door-to-door drives, food and drink sales were held each weekend. A food stand was erected to serve the first wagon train here. As money began to trickle in, it was put into equipment, life jackets, boats, dragging gear, lights, power plants, trucks, trailers, and two-way radio equipment. Fully equipped ambulances were secured, (one of which is equipped with a hospital type Coronary Care Unit, the second such unit for mobile use in the nation.) Two buildings were built, one at Tapoco a 28' x 30' and a 30' x 60' at Robbinsville. All types of convalescent aids such as hospital beds, wheel chairs, walkers, etc. were obtained for loan to people in need. During this growing period, the public learned to call the Rescue Squad for any emergency. The types of work performed by the members, fully trained in all types of first aid and rescue training, are too numerous to be listed-anything from a burned finger to an airplane crash, a lost child to a drowning person, a small dog trapped in a drain pipe, to a fatal auto crash. In 1968, the Rescue Squad took over the duties of the Robbinsville Fire Department. All these things and hundreds more were and are done by volunteer members not for money or recognition, but because they are their fellow men in need of help and give freely.
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The charter members of the Graham County Rescue Squad. The founders of our organization.From Left to Right. Front row; Monroe Sawyer, Heyward Crawford, EM. Ingram, Lowel Garland, Larry, Perkins.Back row, Huel Smith, Jessie Ralph Jenkins, Marshal Campbell, Lynn Buchanan, Doug Campbell, Big Leonard Williams and Charter Commander Model Walsh
Tommie StrattonGraham County Rescue Squad & Fire Department Dispatcher from the beginning of the Graham County Rescue Squad until her death in 1999. Tommie was a very special person, she volunteered her time and no matter what time of the day or night was always available. She worried about each and every squad member until they were safe at home.Thank you Tommie
Graham County has two active Rescue Squads:
The Graham County Rescue Squad based in Robbinsville, NC which serves the areas from Topton to Tapoco at the state line back to Fontana NC, from Snowbird to Sweetwater Mountain.
The Stecoah Rescue Squad in based in the Stecoah Community of Graham County, which serves the areas from the county line at Almond to Fontana, NC to the Robbinsville side of the Sweetwater Mountain.
The Graham County Rescue Squad is composed of all volunteers and has served the citizens of Graham County since the early 1962. Some of the missions the rescue squad is responsible for include: search and rescue for missing or injured individuals or groups; searching for drowning victims; and special rescue including vehicle rescue and high angle rescue. The rescue squad operates a ambulance at the basic EMT level which serves as the primary ambulance at football games and as a back up ambulance when all of the counties paramedic units are busy. The Rescue Squad recently purchased a Life-Pack 500 Automated External Defibrillator with the help of a matching grant through the NC Department of Insurance; this will assist the EMT's with cardiac arrest patients. The rescue squad assists with traffic control during large events and they respond to many first responder calls to assist the EMS. During large-scale disasters that affect the county the rescue squad, assists in clearing roads, delivering food, supplies, and checking on victims of the storms. The Rescue Squad also operates the fire department. Officers of the Graham County Rescue Squad include; Commander Keith Eller; Assistant Commanders; Jeff Millsaps; Assistant Commander Ed Ingram; and Squad Leaders Harold Sellers, Benny Self. The Board of Directors is comprised of: Lee Lynnes, Jerry Collins, Terry Stewart, Ray Green, Eddie Grindstaff, Billy Lewis, and Terry Slaughter. Other positions are Secretary Kim Cunningham, Assistant Secretary Kim Creasman, Treasurer Ralph Hooper, Equipment Manager Rex Smith, Assistant Equipment Manager Jonathan Odom, Chaplain Gene Cable, Assistant Chaplain Terry Stewart, and Squad Nurse Sherry Collins. WNC Delegates are Eddie Grindstaff.. Search and Rescue Coordinator; Jack Jackson, Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator, Marshall McClung.
|Graham County Rescue Squad's six wheel ATV, purchase a couple of years ago through Grants and local contributions. This ATV is used to carry personnel and equipment back into the mountains and to transport victims back to the highways. It is equipped with a wench and a bed to carry the basket.|
Stecoah Fire & Rescue is composed entirely of volunteers.
The squad has served the citizens of Graham County since the early
1960s. Some of the missions that the rescue squad is responsible
for include: search and rescue for missing or injured individuals,
searching for drowning victims, and special rescue including vehicle
rescue and high angle rescue. The rescue squad operates two ambulances
at the EMT-Intermediate level, which serves as the primary response
unit in the Stecoah response district and as a backup to the county's
paramedic unit when they are busy. The rescue squad assists with
traffic control during accidents and other events. They respond
to many first responder calls to assist the counties EMS. During
large-scale disasters that affect the county the rescue squad
assists in clearing roads, delivering food and supplies, checking
on victims of the storms and operating a shelter for those that
might need an emergency shelter. The Rescue Squad also operates
the fire department. Officers of the Stecoah Fire and Rescue Squad
include: Commander Lynn Cody, Assistant Squad Commander Clifford
Williams, Deputy Fire Chief Tom Smith, Captain Fire and Rescue
Kyle Williams, Training Officer William Myers, Lieutenant Alan
Sampson, Treasurer Joyce Cody, Secretary Pam Williams and Traffic
Officer Randy Jenkins
These are only a few of the responsibilities that the rescue squads provide for Graham County. Without the hard work and dedication that these volunteers provide the cost would be extremely expensive to the taxpayers. These members will do whatever is asked, so their role continues to change on a daily basis.
|Crash truck, used for vehicle extrication, equipped with extrication tools, ropes, air bags, hydraulic tools, hand tools air chisels, cribbing and other equipment.|
Graham County Rescue Squad Members during the 1972 Graham County Centennial Celebration. Front row; Ralph Jenkins, Marvin Edwards, Eugene McMonigle, Larry Crisp, George Teesateskie, Bryce Holder, Heyward Crawford and Ray Green. 2nd Row; Mack Huffman, Farley Stratton, Booth Crisp Jr., George Sheffey, Melvin Howell, Modeal Walsh, Hugh Gibbs, Ed Corpening and Alvin Crawford. 3rd Row; Harry Hancock, O.W. Hooper Jr., Gwyn Carver, Warner Deyton, James Lewis, Randall Atwell, Raymond Williams, Jack Millsaps, and Joe Collins.
Other Members not present for picture, were; Arnold Allen, William Beasley, Richard Beasley, Eddie Brooms, James Burchfield, Burlin Carpenter, Junior Carringer, David Carver, Kenneth Carver, Homer Constance, Edwin Corpening, Troy Grindstaff, Ralph Crisp, Gary Davis, Tony Farley, Lowell Garland, Alan Gibbs, Hugh Gibbs, Edward Ingram, Jack Jackson, Gary Miller, Keith Millsaps, Lloyd Lee Millsaps, Kenneth Orr, Wayne Shephard, Huel Smith, Wallace Smith, Daniel Webster, Truman Wilson, Zollie Lynn, Doyle Stratton, Charles Holloway, Marshall McClung