On May 19th, 2019 at Kings Dominion, in Doswell, VA, the Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad (LVRS) was honored to receive the Old Dominion EMS Alliance’s Regional EMS Award for 2019 Outstanding Agency of the Year. The award was presented to them by special guest and presenter, Chip Decker, CEO of Richmond Ambulance Authority. This award truly means a lot to the members of LVRS because there are over 100 EMS agencies in the region that could have won.
The members of the Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad are a diverse group representing all walks of life. When it comes time to answer the call for help, their members are ready and able to do all they can to provide the best professional emergency medical care to the sick and injured possible. They are one of the last remaining agencies in the ODEMSA Region and the Commonwealth that does not charge for its services and doesn’t employ paid staff.
Not only does LVRS provide for their community, but they also provide for the members of their agency. Members do not receive special funds for meals when on duty nor stipends when away for classes or meetings, but they do receive the support of their fellow members and the best equipment, progressive protocols, ongoing training, and some of the best technology that there is. They are always looking for the best evidence-based practices and new technology to ensure that quality care is available. Some of their latest equipment includes use of iGel Supraglottic Airways, Intubrite Video Laryngoscopy, LUCAS II Chest Compression System, ZOLL X Series, and the Stryker Power Load System that is on every truck in the fleet.
Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad also takes the time to recognize their members in many ways. For EMS Week, they plan events for their members nearly every day of the entire week. This year, members were encouraged to attend the awards ceremony, which was followed by a picnic and a day of thrills at Kings Dominion an amusement park. Members of Lakeside have been receiving national recognition for their volunteerism through the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards program for going on three years. Members receive a bronze, silver or gold medallion, certificate, and a signed letter from the sitting President of the United States for hours of service they have provided. These awards take into consideration the members age and the time they have logged over the past year.
There is also no shortage of events that they cover. Whether its the NASCAR races, the Richmond K-9 5k, the Monument 10k, and other events in the County of Henrico or the City of Richmond; there are not many weekends from early spring to late fall that go unbooked with some activity that an organization, Richmond Ambulance Authority, or the County of Henrico haven’t requested event coverage for. Their ability to cover standbys are a testament to this mission and their ongoing goal of helping others in their community. They not only provide units for standbys but also staff additional units to help the citizens of Henrico County. They do not allow standbys to jeopardize the ongoing need for a staffed ambulance by always ensuring that they have a station crew that is in service at their station when another crew is on a special event standby. In addition to the coverage of special events, they also participate in the Anthem Moonlight Ride, National Night Out, Lakeside Day, and Holly Jolly on Lakeside Avenue which are community events that draw visitors to the Lakeside area from around the region for food, shopping, crime prevention tips, and holiday festivities. They also regularly cover multiple Fourth of July events across the county.
Lakeside believes that fiscal transparency with the community helps to improve it’s fundraising efforts. That is why since 2017 LVRS has regularly updated it’s information with GuideStar and has received the bronze star rating every year. This designation gives members of their community and local businesses valuable knowledge and insight to help them make informed decisions about where to donate.
Not only do the members of Lakeside provide EMS response capabilities, but they also give back to charities and families in the area. For several years, they have designed a breast cancer awareness shirt that they make available for purchase to their members and those in the community to wear for the month of October. Their members are permitted to wear the shirts as their duty uniform that month for awareness purposes. All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to the VCU Massey Cancer Center. In 2018, Lakeside Rescue raised $654 for this worthy cause. Likewise, during the December holiday season, they pick a local charity to support. In years past, they have adopted a family both through personal connections and through the Henrico Christmas Mother, collected food bank donations, and donated to Toys-for-Tots. In 2018, they received donations from their members for Safe Harbor, which is a local domestic violence shelter servicing women and children. In 2018, their contribution consisted of a large box full of food, gift cards, daily use items, and toiletries.
While they may not have a paid administrative staff, like a city or county governmental agency, they feel that the dedication of their administration (who are all riding members) and all of their members provide a significant resource to the citizens of the County not only through their EMS response but also through their community outreach. Their Officers work full-time jobs, mostly not in EMS, while maintaining almost a second full-time job performing their duties as riding members and in their leadership roles. As a non-fee for service agency, everything they can accomplish is within the confines of a $100,000 annual budget, funded by donations from their community. They feel that they are fiscally responsible with the funds that they receive and provide the best pre-hospital emergency care proudly as a 100% volunteer agency.
About Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad;
The Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the County of Henrico, Virginia, and is a sustainable, community-based Emergency Medical Services organization that is professional, innovative, proactive and provides exceptional services while honoring their history and building their future. Lakeside Volunteer Rescue Squad is comprised of nearly 60 volunteers and no paid staff. Their volunteer efforts and top quality no-cost pre-hospital emergency medical care regularly help to contribute to over half a million dollars in savings to the County of Henrico annually.