EMT Bob Malacarne has been a part of St. John Rescue for about two decades, and for many years has written a column for Tradewinds about the emergency organization. That practice came to a halt when the 2017 hurricanes hit the territory. He has recently resumed the columns which will appear on both the Tradewinds and the Source websites.
This is the first “To The Rescue” article since Irma and Maria paid us an unwelcome visit in 2017. So, there is a lot to catch up on.
First and foremost, the members of St. John Rescue thank everyone who came to our assistance immediately after Irmaria. Your financial support allowed us to bring in search and rescue people to assist us in making sure that no one was left unattended. It is nothing less than a miracle that no one died in a collapsed structure on St. John. With all the devastation we experienced we St. Johnians came through it with an invigorated spirit. St. John is a very special place and the positive attitude and willingness to come together after the storms is a testimony to our St. John spirit.
During the past few years St. John Rescue has been able to acquire federal grant funds to purchase land and to build a headquarters for our organization. You may have noticed construction at the “Fork in the Road.” Yes, that will be our new headquarters. We hope to move in mid-February. This new building will be our base of operations and provide us with a great space for teaching CPR, first aid, emergency medical responder and emergency medical technician courses to the public.
In addition, several of our members, including myself, have become HAM radio technicians. This allows us more communication capabilities in the event of another disaster. It is also helpful during a search and rescue operation. Many thanks go out to rescue member Larry Pruss for taking on the task of communications officer for St. John Rescue and for being the driving force for bringing HAM radio classes to St. John Rescue.
Recently, St. John Rescue President Darrell Tasman, liaison member Dylan Baird and I were sorting through several cases of historical documents dating back to the founding of St. John Rescue in 1996. It brought back such fond memories of a fledgling organization. It gave me the idea to share some of these memories of St. John Rescue with you. So, each month I will include a historical segment along with up to date information. I hope you will enjoy this trip back in time.
The key St. Johnians credited with the formation of this dynamic lifesaving organization in 1996 were: Elmo Rabsatt, Walter Trillhaase, Valerie Trillhaase, Darrell Tasman, Godwin Sprauve, Jens Pickering, Bruce Fagan and Janice Bauer. However, the person who actually got things underway in 1995 was the late Anibal “Chickie” Morciglio. Chickie received many honors for his service to this community. Among them, the Volunteer Service Award from President Reagan, the Distinguished Service Medal from the Department of Public Safety and the Professional Women’s Club. Chickie was also instrumental in the formation of St. Thomas Rescue.
I was fortunate to be accepted into the group in 1999 and have been an active member ever since. Back in the late 1990s we were a fledging group with no workable vehicle and no radios. However, we persevered and have become a dynamic, invaluable organization. Over the years we have forged great working relationships with V.I. Fire Service, V.I. Police, VITEMA, National Park Service, St. Thomas Rescue, St. Croix Rescue and Water Island Search and Rescue.
St. John Rescue is an official ASHI (American Safety and Health Institute} training center, through which we provide most of our trainings. If you would like to sign up for one of our classes, you can contact Larissa at our office 340-693-7377. There is a suggested donation of $30 per class. It has been proven time and time again that CPR saves lives. We would love to see you in one of our classes.
We offer CPR classes on the second Saturday of each month and first aid on the third Saturday of each month. All classes begin at 8:30 a.m. sharp and usually last three to four hours.
St. John Rescue always welcomes new members. Whether or not you have any emergency medical training, please consider joining our organization. We offer regular training and occasionally bring in trainers from the states. most of our members are emergency medical responders, emergency medical technicians or paramedics, and one member is an ER doctor. We are also inviting members of our community to be a member of our board of directors.
Please call the office for more information on the role of the members of the Board of Directors. If you are interested in finding out more about St. John Rescue or would like to join please attend one of our regular monthly meetings, held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Our current office is across from RaceTrac gas station.
SAFETY TIP: If you ever need emergency – police, fire, EMS, rescue – please call 911or 340-776-9110 from a cell phone, give the operator your address along with clear and concise directions to your location; then explain the nature of your emergency. Please have someone stationed out by the main road to guide the emergency responders to your location.
Until next month – STAY SAFE!