Sterling resident Byron Andrews works in rescue services by day and as a volunteer rescue chief during his off hours.
"I look at being a member of a rescue squad as an avocation and a vocation," said Andrews, a paid captain and 20-year employee in Alexandria and a nine-year chief of the Sterling rescue squad.
Andrews volunteers from "a sense of dedication and commitment to the organization. It's where my roots are," he said.
On July 1, Gov. Mark Warner (D) appointed Andrews to the State Emergency Medical Services Advisory Board, an advisory panel for the state office of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) that is responsible for training and certifying rescue workers and licensing EMS agencies and vehicles. The panel, which meets on a quarterly basis, provides the state with advise on programs and policies related to Emergency Medical Services.
"As an administrator, as a provider on the street, I have a pulse as to what's going on day in and day out on EMS issues," Andrews said, adding that as a board member, he hopes to impact policies to reflect what happens on the street, or the daily operations of rescue services. "I hope to have an impact in providing what the agencies in Virginia want and need."
FOR THE PAST three years, Andrews has served as a member of the state Financial Assistance Review Committee (FARC), a position that helped him get appointed to the state board, he said. FARC distributes funds from the vehicle register fund to fund EMS agencies and their proposed projects. Andrews was appointed to a second three-year term to serve as chairman of the five-person panel.
"These individuals bring a wealth of experiences to their positions," said Warner about appointing Andrews and the other appointments he made earlier this year, according to a statement.
Andrews started volunteering with the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad in 1978, becoming an official member a year later when he was 16 and had completed his emergency medical technician certification.
In 1988, Andrews became volunteer chief of the rescue squad, taking two three-year hiatuses, the first in 1993 and the second in 2000. "I got bit by the bug," he said. "It's a challenge. Every single incident is different. You're required to think fast, act fast."
Andrews started out as a dispatcher, staying in the position for more then two years before he began moving up through the ranks and earning a long list of certifications, including advanced life support, cardiac technician, hazardous materials specialist and instructor 4, the highest level of certification in instruction. He also is certified as a fire officer, able to teach personnel management, budgeting, planning, daily operations and scene operations.
"I like going out teaching and helping departments provide better service to their communities. It's rewarding. I really enjoy it," said Andrews, who has taught statewide and in the United States and abroad. He is a Virginia native who has lived in Sterling for the past 22 years.