Rose Tree & Stump Removal

Rose Tree & Stump Removal works Friday afternoon to top the trees in front of the Halifax County Rescue Squad at 700 Hamilton Blvd. in South Boston. After the tree topping work is complete, Reaves Lawn & Garden will begin landscaping work on the grounds of the building

Andrew Richardson Jr.

Andrew Richardson Jr. is the president of the Halifax County Rescue Squad. Richardson plans to spruce up the rescue squad’s building and grounds in hopes of attracting more volunteers, with the number of calls the rescue squad receives on a daily basis on the rise.

The Halifax County Rescue Squad is getting a facelift.

The first responders who work in the unassuming building on Hamilton Boulevard fulfill a vital need in the community – saving lives.

More volunteers are needed to fulfill the rescue squad’s lifesaving mission, and to that end, the organization’s president Andrew Richardson Jr. wants to give the rescue squad an appealing, fresh look that will attract attention.

“I’m trying to give the rescue squad an overall facelift,” Richardson said. “I feel that right now, people might not know we’re here, and I want people to know we’re here. I want to attract volunteers – young people or anyone who wants to volunteer to help their community.”

Previously obstructed from the view of passersby by large trees in front of the building, the Halifax County Rescue Squad soon will be much more visible to motorists traveling up and down the busy road in South Boston.

David Rose and his nephew Bryce Rose of Rose Tree & Stump Removal worked Friday on topping the trees in front of the rescue squad. The Roses plan to complete their work on topping and trimming the limbs of the trees on Monday.

“We’ve got four trees on the property now,” Richardson said. “By getting the trees topped, I want to get more light in the yard so the grass will grow and we’ll have nice, green grass. We’ve got Reaves Lawn and Garden providing our landscaping.”

Rose Tree & Stump Removal

David Rose of Rose Tree & Stump Removal works Friday afternoon to top a large tree in front of the Halifax County Rescue Squad.

Landscaping the grounds of the rescue squad will begin after the tree topping work is complete. Richardson also has plans for the inside of the building. Ten new beds have been ordered for the staff who work around the clock to respond to the medical emergencies of community members.

“They’re here 24 hours a day, so I want them to be comfortable while they’re here,” Richardson commented. He added the new beds are the same ones that the South Boston Fire Department has in its new addition.

Along with replacing the existing beds and other furniture in the rescue squad, Richardson said he would eventually like to see the kitchen renovated and new flooring installed in the building, as well.

The Halifax County Rescue Squad has received a substantial amount of money from its recent letter drive, funding that can be used for improvements to the building and grounds and/ or lifesaving equipment.

The letter drive originally was planned for June, but the squad’s leadership felt that it was not the right time for a letter drive because of the financial hardships placed on community members during COVID-19, so the letter drive was postponed to February of this year.

Corbin Slabach

Corbin Slabach is the vice-president of the Halifax County Rescue Squad. The rescue squad currently has 17 volunteers and 20 career staff members.

“People have been graciously donating, and we’ve really been appreciative of that,” Richardson said.

In turn, Richardson wants the residents of Halifax County to know the rescue squad is there to serve them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We’re here any time of the day. If you need us, call us,” Richardson said.

The number of calls that the Halifax County Rescue Squad receives is on the rise and so is the need for volunteers to respond to those calls.

Currently, the Halifax County Rescue Squad has about 17 volunteers and 20 career staff, Richardson shared.

The career staff members and volunteers work in shifts to cover the calls that come in at all hours of the day and night. As of Thursday, Richardson said the rescue squad had responded to 859 calls so far this year.

“It’s increasing every day,” he said. Richardson added the rescue squad currently has three trucks and has ordered a fourth truck which is set to be in service by mid-June to help the staff respond to the increasing number of calls.

Richardson has been the president of the Halifax County Rescue Squad since July, with Corbin Slabach as his right-hand man in the role of vice president of the rescue squad. He has been a member of the rescue squad for 14 years.

The leader of the Halifax County Rescue Squad also is a firefighter/ EMT for the Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department and vice-president of the South Boston Fire Department. He cannot think of any better crew of dedicated people to work with than the crew of the Halifax County Rescue Squad.

“We’re around these people more than our own families. It’s one big family,” Richardson said. “It’s a good bunch of people.”

Terrell Venable, a volunteer at the Halifax County Rescue Squad, had similar thoughts about his co-workers.

“As a crew, everybody treats each other with respect. It’s a family here,” Venable said. “I joined the rescue squad because I like helping out the community the best way I can – saving lives.”

Richardson encourages those interested in becoming a volunteer for the Halifax County Rescue Squad to consider participating in the rescue squad’s “member for a day” program which provides a taste of a day in the life of a rescue squad volunteer or simply stopping by the rescue squad at 700 Hamilton Blvd.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.