Prince George Emergency Crew honors members past and present
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Jan 16, 2013, 11:57
photo by Caitlin Davis Dr. James McNeer administers the Oath of Office for senior crew officers at the 42nd annual installation banquet for the Prince George Emergency Crew on Saturday.
As he looked around the room at the Petersburg Country Club on Saturday night, Will Robinson, Chief of the Prince George Emergency Crew, saw a crowd of important guests.
“This is my family,” he said. “I’d like to pause just for a minute. I’d like to see all the providers in Prince George stand up.”
Some of the guests stood in uniform, while others were suits, but as they all stood, rounds of applause filled the room as the past and present members were honored at the Prince George Emergency Crew’s 42nd Annual Installation Banquet.
Dr. James McNeer, who retired in 2012 as president of Richard Bland College after 44 years there, performed the installation of Senior Crew Officers and the Board of Trustees.
“I want to congratulate you all on all that you do for the residents of Prince George county,” McNeer said after the officers and board members raised their right hands and took on their new duties for 2013. “All the efforts and extra time that you all put in for the county. We have an opportunity, we don’t know when it’s going to happen, to be in service for somebody else, and I think that’s what you do on a daily basis.”
The banquet wasn’t just about the senior officers and board members; the current members, a list that includes junior and senior crew members, also took an oath to help serve the residents of Prince George. Life members, charter members and honorary members were also honored during the program on Saturday night.
Robinson asked his crew to continue setting goals throughout their careers. Robinson said while 2012 was a good year, he wanted to make 2013 even better.
“Let me tell you what’s going on, what’s happening,” Robinson told the officers and guests that evening. “We’re spinning the wheels and not progressing. I’m going to tell you how to reach that point. You know goals. You set goals. What I’m going to tell you is some of the things you can do to help you reach your goals. So when you have a goal, you have to have a plan. If you don’t have a plan it’s a wish.”
Robinson’s plan is to recruit new members and train his current members. To move forward, Robinson said the key is a four-letter word.
“Put a little love in your heart,” Robinson said. “You can see the wheels turn. You can see them turn fast. We can reach that goal if you put a little love in your heart.”
The message of love and community service was reiterated by Paul Mauger, who retired as the Chesterfield County Fire Chief in 2008 after 31 years of service.
Mauger praised the community members who stepped up to form the Prince George County Volunteer Emergency Crew, including Prince George County supervisor Jerry Skalsky.
“The citizens had one purpose in mind, and it remains the focus even of today, and that is to serve the citizens and guests of Prince George County and to make a difference, to have an impact,” Mauger said.
Mauger put that impact into numbers. That number was 2,300.
Mauger said the 2,300 calls made by the emergency crew were 2,300 opportunities to serve the citizens and 2,300 opportunities to make a positive impact on the life of those in the community.
“Not many people are given that opportunity,” Mauger said. “See, I believe that anyone can do what we do, to provide medical care to others. But not everyone can provide it the way we have the opportunity to provide it.”
For Mauger, an opportunity came on a Thanksgiving early in his career. He answered a call for a young girl who was rear-ended by a drunk driver. Her car was knocked into a water filled ravine, upside down. Mauger said he can still recall just how cold the water was as he went in to try and save her.
The girl was transported to the Medical College of Virginia and Mauger walked away without knowing the outcome of the night.
Thirty years later, at a funeral for a police officer, an elderly woman approached Mauger, inquiring about his identity. After confirming that he was Paul Mauger, she recalled that night. She said the young girl was her daughter. He said he was stunned as he told her he never knew the outcome.
“And then I braced myself for her response,” Mauger said. “She broke out into a huge smile and started showing me pictures of her daughter and grandchildren. It was then she gave me a hug and thanked me for being there that night for her daughter.”
Mauger said the impact of the job goes years beyond each service call.
“Imagine folks 30 plus years later and the blessing of having a positive impact on others coming back to you,” Mauger said. “You never know what impact we can have on other people’s lives. We’re simply given the opportunity to serve.”
The message of dedication and commitment to service resonated throughout the evening. Norman MacArthur, vehicle lieutenant for the emergency crew, honored a fallen member at the banquet, Samuel “Sammy” Garcia.
Garcia joined the crew in 1977 and made his way through the ranks, serving two terms in the role of chief, which was then titled captain.
On December 26, 1992, the crew responded to the call of a child crushed between two vehicles. Sammie arrived on scene, treated the child and was in constant contact with the hospital until an evacuation helicopter arrived on scene. Garcia then began his drive to the hospital to sign for the medicines used that night. He never made it to the hospital.
The Hopewell Emergency Crew found Sammie in full cardiac arrest and attempted, unsuccessfully, to revive him. MacArthur said those on scene reported Sammie gave everything he had trying to save the child’s life.
“We, as EMS providers, don’t ever see ourselves as the patient, as the victim, and for us to remember somebody that did such a good job and brought the organization to where it is today is very important,” MacArthur said.
MacArthur said the health of an emergency crew is of upmost importance. Robinson, who suffered a stroke not too long ago, was honored by MacArthur and the rest of the crew.
“And the second person we’d like to recognize is Chief Will Robinson,” MacArthur said. “Both Chiefs had medical issues, and it is very important for us to remember, first and foremost, to take care of ourselves, and I think Will is doing that now. I hope he understands there’s a lot of people that need him here. Thank you for everything you do...take care of yourself Will. We need to keep you around.”