Teresa Barker, nursing instructor at Danville Community College and member of Fork Baptist Church in Scottsburg, presents a check for the purchase of an automated external defibrillator on Friday to Chief Jim Binner of the South Boston Police Department. Also pictured (from left to right) are Corbin Slabach, Allyson Sizemore and Taylor Barnes, students in Danville Community College’s Nursing Program, Capt. Darnell Barskdale of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, Ken Warfield, pastor of Fork Baptist Church, Mike Compton, a hospitalist at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital, chief medical deputy for the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and medical officer for the South Boston Police Department, Ronnie Edmonds of the South Boston Police Department, Major Tommy Spencer of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and James Short of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office.

The American Red Cross says the average response time for first responders once 911 is called is 8 to 12 minutes, and for each minute defibrillation is delayed, the odds of survival are reduced by roughly 10%, according to its website.

Now one local church is teaming up with local organizations, businesses and individuals to combat those statistics by raising money to provide AEDs or automated external defibrillators to Halifax County Sheriff Office deputies and South Boston Police Officers.

Teresa Barker with Fork Baptist Church in Scottsburg said she and members of her congregation were approached by law enforcement about the need for these AEDs being that in many cases police are the first to arrive on scene.

“There are instances in the community where older members of our church need EMS, and it can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes for rescue to get there,” said Barker.

She said often times firefighters and police are the first to arrive, and if they were to have these devices, they’d be able to “deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.”

With some members of her congregation being members of law enforcement, she’s heard them wonder if they outcome could have been different if they had had an AED.

“I’m a nurse so I get the feeling of what if,” said Barker.

She added, “If one person’s life is saved, it’s worth any amount of money, and being that we’re Christians, each life saved is an opportunity to witness to them.”

South Boston Police Chief Jim Binner called the possible AED’s “another tool (in the police’s) tool belt to provide to the community.

“A lot of times we’re the first on the scene, and a lot of times it does turn into a medical situation,” said Binner.

So far the church has raised $4,000 with a raffle, and has received donations from numerous businesses, organizations churches and individuals, but they’re still looking for more.

Their goal is to raise $12,600 for 18 AED’s.

They also plan to hold various events in the coming weeks to raise funds.

“We’re very fortunate to have Fork Baptist Church, their pastor Ken Warfield and their congregation, and their continued support of first responders and law enforcement. We’re very thankful to have the support of the community,” said Binner.

“It just means a lot,” he concluded.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at