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Votes

Few Good Men and Women

The Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad is made up of men and women from all different walks of life. Some volunteers are students, others work for government agencies. Some volunteers are doctors, dentists, lawyers and bank tellers. Even though they work different jobs, they have one thing in common. They volunteer their time to save lives.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad members Kara Brown, Karisma Hughes and Lynn Beard walked the halls of Station 25, located off of Algonkian Parkway. They checked defibrillator batteries and restocked supplies in the back of the ambulance.

At 11 a.m., an alarm rang through the Sterling station. A dispatcher in Leesburg gave orders over a loudspeaker and the three women filed into the ambulance. In no time, the volunteers arrived at an Inova Emergency Care Center.

When they entered the doctorÕs office, they met a frail, 77-year-old woman in relatively good spirits. The womanÕs heart was racing.

ÒYouÕre not gonna put those sirens on,Ó the woman said.

Immediately, Hughes and Beard hoisted her onto a stretcher and Brown pushed her toward the door.

ON THE RIDE to Loudoun Hospital, Brown put the patient at ease by making small talk while checking her vitals.

Brown said there are certain qualities you must have to be an EMT.

ÒYou have to care about people to do this job,Ó she said. ÒYou have to like to work under pressure and pay attention to detail. ItÕs a learned process. Anyone can learn.Ó

Currently, she is taking classes to become an EMT Basic, an entry-level EMT position, in Leesburg. In her class, Brown has learned how to splint bones and pull bodies out of cars.

"There are all kinds of people in my classes," Beard said. "Anybody can do it. We have a doctor, lawyer, a pool maintenance man."

Soon, she will begin to log hours in order to drive an ambulance in an emergency.

During the week, Brown serves the community in a different way. She is a social worker for the county.

ÒThis is just my community service,Ó she said.

Like Brown, Hughes and Beard have full-time jobs.

ÒWe all do,Ó Beard said.

Beard works for a bank and Hughes is a pharmaceutical technician.

There are 193 Sterling Rescue volunteers. In 2005, the men and women responded to approximately 7,000 calls.

P.J. Azzolina, president of Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad, said its station is one of the busiest all-volunteer rescue agencies in the country.

IN SEPTEMBER, the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad was recognized as the premier, all-volunteer EMS agency in the nation.

Azzolina and several other volunteers, including Beard, traveled to Las Vegas to receive EMS MagazineÕs 2006 Gold Standard Award. The award had two separate categories, paid and volunteer service. Each honors an agency that demonstrates a high level of dedication, teamwork and commitment to EMS, Azzolina said.

Sterling was a shoe in because it is all-volunteer and responds to so many calls per year, Azzolina said.

"We're the last all-volunteer agency in the county," Azzolina said. "People are here because they want to be."