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Rescue squad holds training session

For almost 20 years the South Butler Volunteer Rescue Inc. has been there to respond when help was needed. Recently, the squad held a training program at the Hank Williams Memorial Park under the pavilion to be sure they would be ready when called on.

The training session consisted of education of members in how to respond to situations and how to properly use the equipment.

&uot;We had a training instructor that trained us in the use of the jaws and other equipment,&uot; said President Eddie Holder. &uot;The course lasted eight hours and was very helpful.&uot;

Holder said people came from all over Butler County to take part in the training program.

&uot;We had people there from the McKenzie Fire Department, Shackleville, Starlington, Garland, Pigeon Creek and some others,&uot; said Holder. &uot;It was a good crowd.&uot;

Holder stressed the training program was for everyone and everyone involved went through the same process.

&uot;We didn’t discriminate,&uot; said Holder. &uot;We put the women through the same training as the men. They all learned to cut tops off vehicles, cut doors and cut hatches. We have a lot of different procedures we use.&uot;

The South Butler Volunteer Rescue has been around for around 16 years. It was begun to increase the response time to accidents in the south end of the county and the readiness for emergency situations to be dealt with locally.

&uot;There was a huge need for it,&uot; said Holder. &uot;When someone was trapped in a vehicle they had to wait for help to come from Greenville or Evergreen.&uot;

Since their beginnings the rescue has kept busy. They respond to about two calls a week and have the capabilities to deal with extraction as well as small fires. The rescue has two trucks and a boat, which has aided in the recovery of three bodies in the last eight years. Membership has been on a steady increase, which helped them to aid in a quick response during Hurricane Ivan.

&uot;We are up to about 22 members now,&uot; said Holder. &uot;That is a good number of people. During the hurricane it helped because we could help do a lot of road clearing and made sure people were all right. It was especially helpful with the elderly people in the area.&uot;

The work this squad does is strictly volunteer. No one is paid and themselves and the community fund them. Holder said the community has acknowledged the importance of this crew and has gone out of their way to help.

&uot;We get money from various people,&uot; said Holder. &uot;Sen. Mitchell, Rep. Charles Newton and Malloy Chandler help us. The United Fund has been a big help too. They have gone over the limit I’ve asked for.&uot;

The volunteer rescue often works just as hard to be sure they are equipped for times of need as they do during them. The hold a variety of fundraisers themselves to make sure funding are available.

&uot;There have been a lot of times where we needed equipment and flipped burgers for it,&uot; said Holder. &uot;We have also held softball tournaments. The United Fund had always stepped in there too and right now we are in pretty good financial shape.&uot;

The volunteers do not come from a single group. People of all different occupations come together to form the volunteer rescue.

&uot;We have people from all different jobs,&uot; said Holder. &uot;We have heavy construction people, diesel mechanics, electrical engineers, city of Georgiana employees and even the county coroner.&uot;

At the moment the volunteer rescue’s membership is full. However, those who wish to contribute can do their part by supporting the events put on by the group and showing their appreciation.