Rhea County Rescue Squad Celebrates 60 Years Of Service

  • Sunday, May 19, 2024
The Rhea County Rescue Squad celebrated its 60th anniversary Saturday with an open house at both the Spring City and Dayton Squad Buildings.

Operations are conducted from two stations at 260 McGoffin Ave. in Spring City and at 2403 Railroad St. in Dayton.

Originally started as a water rescue operation, the Rhea County Rescue Squad has expanded in to being firefighting, vehicle extrication, search and rescue, swift water rescue and high angle rope rescue operations.
In addition, they serve as back up units with the Rhea County Volunteer Fire Department.

The story of the Rescue Squad started on March 15, 1964, when two Spring City High School students, looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon, decided to take a small boat out and shoot the rapids in the rain-swollen waters of Piney River. What began as fun quickly turned into tragedy. The boys had underestimated the river's current and, when their small craft capsized, only one, Charles Reed, emerged and made it safely to shore.

On Monday, March 16, after working throughout the night, rescue workers from neighboring McMinn, Roane and Cumberland counties, assisted by area residents, pulled the body of 19-year-old Charles Edwards from the river.

Four months later, in July 1964, Rhea County received a charter from the state to operate the non-profit Rhea County Rescue Squad, which was headquartered in Spring City and made up of volunteers from throughout the county.

The volunteer rescue squad members spend thousands of hours each year responding to calls involving lost and injured hikers, auto accident victims, drownings, fire rescues and all manner of emergencies as well as training to keep up on current methods and technology.

The Rhea County Commission recently declared the week of May 19-25 as Rhea County Rescue Squad Appreciation Week and in specific, Saturday, May 18, was observed as Rhea County Rescue Squad Day.

The Rhea County Rescue Squad, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization and is a member of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads (also known as TARS).

As a fundraiser, the Rescue Squad is selling two styles of t-shirts and a challenge coin to raise money. The Rescue Squad is totally funded by donations, and fundraisers. Every year the two major fundraisers are a smoked pork butt sale and in recent years a haunted house.

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