ROCKINGHAM — Two local businesses and motorcycle club presented an underwater camera to the Richmond County Volunteer Rescue Squad on Friday.
Reliable Auto and Towing, owned by Mike Stokes, Dunn’s Auto Sales, owned by Steve Dunn, and Steel Wheels Motorcycle Riding Club came to the squad’s rescue with the camera they pitched in to donate.
Stokes, who is on the rescue squad, said they get $12,000 a year from the county.
“Our insurance is $11,500 a year,” he added. “We need everything we can get in donations from the public just to keep us going.”
Chief Scott Waters said the underwater camera donation is greatly appreciated by the squad.
“That was very nice of them to go in together and purchase that,” Waters said. “It will help us out so much. Our other camera is old. This puts us at two cameras. I hope maybe someday it will help us save a life.”
“This camera can help them locate people in water,” Stokes said. “Unfortunately, by the time they get there and if the water temperature isn’t just right, it’s usually a recovery. But if there’s that one chance left that you can find somebody before they’re gone, that’s important. I’m just trying to get other people to support our rescue squads. They’re a dying breed, and they don’t need to be.”
Stokes said FirstHealth EMS does a great service for the county in emergency response, too, but they don’t face the same funding issues as volunteer rescue squads.
“We’ll be offering the annual barbecue on May 5,” he said. “It’s one of our biggest fundraisers of the year.
Waters said the barbecue sale is well-supported by the community, but added that staples for the event are frequently purchased by the squad.
“Things like the food, most of that is donated by our members,” Waters said. “Cans of baked beans, and then the barbecue. Perdue helps with the chicken. The United Way of Richmond County helps us tremendously, too. We always go to the Seaboard Festival and the Fourth of July events where we also sell plates during the year. We have that trailer that we just got, and it’s just being out in the community and letting people know who we are and what we do.”
Stokes said the three groups take on several fundraiser projects each year.
“We donate fans to elderly people who don’t have fans,” he said. “Last year we gave out about 20, and this year our goal is 100 fans.”
He said the groups find out who needs the fans from the senior centers of Hamlet and Rockingham.
“If they don’t have air conditioning, we give them a fan,” Stokes said. “We’ve also donated to food banks, we give to Place of Grace and the Pence Place. For the Pence kids, we buy them birthday gifts and a cake on every one of their birthdays.”
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673.