Lyndon Rescue Celebrates 40 Years

lyndonrescuenewslincLYNDONVILLE - In 1972, a small group of college students at Lyndon State College purchased two vehicles that would later become the campus rescue emergency services.

 The two vehicles were an old station wagon and a retired mail truck. Both would be converted into ambulances to serve the community when they needed help. With the two necessary vehicles to get the job done, Lyndon State Rescue was formed.

"I understand that their first vehicle was a mail van. They just had a group of student volunteers that operated out of the residence halls, and they became the campus rescue emergency services," says Lyndon Rescue Volunteer Cathy Deleo.

The original campus rescue squad may have started out with only an old converted station wagon and mail truck, but as the years went by this small service turned into Lyndon Rescue Inc. With the evolution of Lyndon Rescue, the vehicles they use have evolved as well.

"Now we have four ambulances equipped at what we call the advanced life support level.  You can do just about anything in the back of the truck, obviously not surgery or x-rays, but we can do a lot of advanced life saving skills and maneuvers right in the back of the truck, which is incredible," says Lyndon Rescue Director Mark Pogwaite.

But the evolution into Lyndon Rescue did not come easily. The club that covered nine towns, over 279 miles and responded to almost 450 calls year, nearly disappeared in the early 90's.

"We didn't have the amount of recruitment of the amount of college students that we'd had before, and when we consistently had to rely on other agencies to cover our area, it was just time to do something," says Lyndon Rescue employee Dave Kerrigan.

"In 1996 it got to the point where business, we were so busy here that it just couldn't be done by volunteers anymore and changes needed to be made as far as the paid staff went," said Podgwaite.

After the dust settled the rescue squad was still alive, but had new life as Lyndon Rescue. The organization shifted from all volunteers to a corporation with several paid employees, who now have access to all the latest equipment.

"The whole technology in terms of what we can do in the ambulance itself, I mean a lot more than the mail truck days for sure, in terms of assessing patients conditions and letting the hospital know what to expect, and know what the picture is that's coming in," said Deleo.

All the technology Lyndon Rescue has makes a huge difference when responding to calls. Now Lyndon Rescue covers an area of 560 square miles and respond to over 1600 calls per year, "with our contract agreement up at the northern outpost we have, we cover 13 towns," said Podgwaite, and they are always standing by to come when you need them too. "Being able to have a community member say that I know that the ambulance squad will be here, I know someone is manning that ambulance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," said Kerrigan.

From its roots 40 years ago as a campus club to a fully staffed professional organization, Lyndon Rescue has thrived and hopes to continue to serve as a vital tool to the community.

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