Thomasville Rescue Squad Needs Funding, Post-Embezzlement Scandal

11:53 AM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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Thomasville, NC - The Thomasville Rescue Squad operates solely on donations and volunteer manpower and said it needs approximately $5,000 per month to operate and pay the mortgage on its new addition. In 2010, apparent embezzlement by former Thomasville Rescue Squad treasurer Doug Lowe depleted $15,000 from the squad's finances. Since then, the squad said it has been trying to rebuild and sustain its funding.

"We run pretty much on donations. We get some funding from the city and from the county and United Way, but lately that's not enough to pay our bills and help out with the debt that we've had," said rescue squad volunteer and Davidson County EMT Sarah Baranowski.

The summer is a season in which donations are especially critical. Baranowski said the squad receives at least 15 calls per day during this time.

The squad runs in conjunction with the Davidson County EMS, fielding and responding to emergency calls with its K9 unit, heavy rescue trucks and rescue boat. Baranowski said the squad frequently responds to car wrecks and has the equipment to be able to cut through glass windows and pop off car doors. She said the squad also performs urban search and rescue, which often involves responding to collapsed buildings. The squad's more than 50 volunteers, many of whom are EMTs, have the capability to give emergency medical care to the victims.

The squad also performs water rescues, which they do frequently in the summertime. "Unfortunately, this time of year, there's [these] types of accidents," said Thomasville Rescue Squad Capt. Adam Byerly.

The squad assisted in the fatal Memorial Day weekend boating accident on High Rock Lake. "We were ready to go with this boat and our underwater rescue trailer in under four minutes, and we had personnel on the ground at High Rock Lake and ready to go to work, along with our K9 unit," Byerly said.

Both Byerly and Baranowski said even when they're not on call to work, they feel an around-the-clock sense of obligation to the squad's mission. "We're all here because we love to help the community in which we live," Byerly said.

The squad is holding its third-annual poker run this Sat., June 22. Registration will begin at 11 a.m. at the Thomasville Funeral Home, and the motorcycle ride will kick off at 1 p.m. Participants will ride their motorcycles on a 100-mile journey from Davidson Co. to Montgomery Co.