Rotary donates jackets to SSRS

The South Hill Rotary Club was recently awarded a TURN OUT COAT GRANT PROJECT for 2022 and they made the presentation of 10 jackets from The Lakeland Wildland Coats at a special meeting with the Southside Rescue Squad this week. The coats are personal protective gear used for motor vehicle accidents. Major incidents are becoming more and more frequent and as EMS providers are having to enter vehicles that are being actively worked on/extricated they must follow the guidelines set forth by the NFPA 1951 in which rescue gear must be adorned prior to starting extrication or entering the vehicle. This standard must be followed by the agency as well as any other department which is involved with incidents such as this otherwise insurance has the ability to deny claims should any provider be injured during the process of extrication of a patient during a motor vehicle accident. More importantly the instance in which a first responder could be injured is unthinkable due to a lack of certified and safe equipment. The Lakeland Wildland Coats will suffice not only in the fact that they prevent rips, tears, or bodily injury by design from jagged metal or glass. These coats are also fire retardant which gives providers precious seconds needed to escape from a sudden combustion of a vehicle that otherwise may cause serious burns to our providers. The coats also offer reflective trim & piping for maximum visibility, and extra pockets to keep emergency tools handy. Lakeland’s extrication gear offers the lightweight, highly visible, and breathable protection required while responding to vehicular accidents or medical emergencies.

According to Captain Gavin Gwaltney the Squad also applied for and received an unexpected grant from the Gary Sinise Foundation, that supplied 2 Jaws of Life extractors at a cost of $13,000 each. The fact that these items complemented the work they were needed for was perfect timing for the club and the squad to work together to make the announcements and enjoy a fellowship dinner. Gwaltney spoke of how humbled they were to be a part of these grant projects and being able to obtain equipment that often times is hard to fit into a budget for all members. It is with deep appreciation for the “Service Above Self” of these emergency personnel being the reason they were considered for this grant effort.

It was also the perfect time to honor a long time Rotarian and Squad member who recently passed away and the donation of the coats was made by the Rotary Club in memory of 27 year Rotarian Herbert Farrar. He also served over 60 years on the rescue squad after its founding in 1960. His daughter Beth Farrar-Lett and her husband Corey Lett were both on hand for the announcement that the donation was made in memory of her father. She was very appreciative as she stated that both organizations were a huge part of his life and he gave his time to them freely.

"This is amazing to have two of the organizations that he loved and dedicated so much time, to honor him in this manner. Dad however, would probably be very uncomfortable as he was a simple, humble man that gave from his heart with love and never wanted nor expected any accolades. I thank you for honoring him in this manner…. I know he would be proud," stated Beth.

The mission of the Gary Sinise Foundation reads as stated by Sinise: “We serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. We do this by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.

Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted. We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation's defenders, we can always do a little more.”