On May 31, 1951 a Boyden High School student attempted to swim across American Quarry in Granite Quarry and did not make it. For 12 days, hundreds of people traveled to the quarry to watch volunteers try to locate the teen’s body.
With the blessing of the late Sheriff Arthur Shuping, Fannie Gobble, Mary Beaver, and Maud Crook began a campaign at the quarry that would lead to the establishment of the Rowan County Rescue Squad.
Their campaigning efforts raised $1,103.00. (A large sum for 1951)
Though some of the early squad records have disappeared, it is known that the squad received its charter July 23, 1951.
Initial officers included:
- G.F. Schott, President
- W. Oakes, Vice President
- M. Andrews, Secretary
- Maud Crook, Treasurer
- John Kesler, Legal Adviser
- Fannie Gobble, Publicity Chairman
- M.M. Bonzo, Training Director
- R.B. Wright Jr., Medical Advisor
Andrews, Shuping, Oakes and H.P. Newman made up the equipment committee.
Early interest in the squad was weak and minimal equipment was purchased within the first year of being established.
In June of 1952, two Salisbury men drowned in the Yadkin River near Long Ferry Road. Units from Lexington and Greensboro were called in to assist Rowan County due to the lack of equipment present and available within the Rowan County departments.
This incident not only raised awareness for the need of rescue volunteers, but also helped push for the purchase of more technical equipment for the Rescue Squad.
At the Lions Bowl Parade in 1952, the squad’s first equipment was displayed; one truck, one boat, and a small amount of rescue equipment/tools.
An ambulance was purchased a short time later.
Since 1952, the Rescue Squad has grown to be a prominent responding agency to all specialized rescue attempts within the county.
There have been fluctuating numbers for apparatus and stations held by the Rowan County Rescue Squad. This has been due to this agency matching the county’s needs.
During Coyt Karriker’s term as Station Chief, the Rowan Rescue Squad was providing Advanced Life Support- Emergency Medical Care to the entirety of Rowan County, assisting RCEMS.
The Rescue Squad currently houses four rescue trucks, two ambulances, one mobile air supply truck, one airboat, two small watercraft, one pontoon, one specialized cribbing/lumber trailer, one rescue dive response trailer, one structural collapse and USAR trailer, one Water/SAR response vehicle, and two general transport vehicles.
With approximately 60 members, the Rowan Rescue Squad is continuing to grow and support the community.
At the Lions Bowl Parade in 1952, the squad’s first equipment – a truck, a boat and small rescue equipment – was displayed. An ambulance was purchased a short time later. During fund raising efforts, the ambulance and earlier equipment were displayed on South Main on Saturdays as volunteers accepted cash donations for the squad.