Waynesboro First Aid Crew is a combination of volunteer and career staff serving the city of Waynesboro and the eastern portion of Augusta County. Prior to its establishment in 1951, injured or sick persons were transported by personal vehicle or local funeral homes. A group of six men, headed by Harlan Senger, held an organizational meeting on December 17, 1950 and formed the Waynesboro Fire Department Life Saving and First Aid Crew, Inc. The original members, in addition to Harlan, were J.T. Phillips, B. Wade, A.T. Crickenberger, E.E. Talley, and E.C. Reardon. Of these six, only Harlan Senger remains as a member and he is also one of the few Virginia State Association Lifetime members.
These men began answering emergency calls in early 1951. The first ambulance was a well-used Ford panel truck donated by Paul Freed Inc. and was known throughout the community as “The Green Hornet”. In March of 1951, Etters Funeral Home donated our 14-foot aluminum boat, which is still in service. In June of 1951, Vepco donated 300 feet of manila rope for rescue operations. The Crews first run area was, to the north to and including Grottoes, to the west to Brand Flats area, which is just outside of Staunton. To the east to Ivy; and Nelson County, and to the south to Raphine. The rescue squads at that time were Lexington, Staunton, and Harrisonburg.
It was realized that funds were necessary for the operation of the Crew and so on April 2, 1951, the first Fund Drive was launched to raise $6,000 dollars. After hard work and intensive solicitation, they had raised a grand total of $56 dollars by May 10, 1951. It was very clear that this fund drive was going to be an uphill battle to sell the needs of this new service to the community. Some of the old members fondly tell about using their own bed sheets from home on the ambulance cot or personal money to fuel the units, when a call for help came in. One member was fired from his job when he left to answer an emergency call.
The Crew was first housed in a the Waynesboro Fire Department, where space was very limited and EMS as we know it today was always the last in line. The crew broke ground for our first Squad building in the spring of 1965. Dedication services for the building were held in May 22, 1966. At the time the building had a $10,000 mortgage but was paid off in eighteen months. In 1972 the crew building was expanded, and volunteer staffing increases to man the building 24/7. We again expanded our building as well as advanced life support (ALS) services in 1990.
On July, 19, 1972, the Crew started our Coronary Care Unit service to heart attack patients in conjunction with a highly-trained nurse from the cardiac care department at Waynesboro Hospital. With Dr. Gorsuch heading this system up, we had quite a few early saves due to this service. At the time, Waynesboro and Charlottesville were the only two rescue squads in the state offering this service.