Duplin Rescue Memorial dedication Sunday
By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on October 25, 2013 1:46 PM
The Duplin Rescue Memorial, built to honor all of the county's emergency medical service volunteers, will be dedicated at 3 p.m. Sunday on the lawn of the Duplin County Courthouse in Kenansville.
In 1968, Rose Quinn didn't mind waking in the middle of night to answer a call. If she did, she wouldn't have taken the job as the captain of the Magnolia Rescue Squad for 20 years.
Back then, EMT volunteers responded by listening to a little red box placed near their beds. They traveled to emergencies in hearses, and they didn't get paid one cent for the time and the equipment they put into saving lives across Duplin County.
To honor those past, present and future emergency response volunteers, the Duplin County Rescue Association recently set up a stone monument in memorial of all those unpaid hours. A dedication ceremony will be held Sunday on the south lawn of the Duplin County Courthouse in Kenansville.
The idea came for the memorial from a conversation between two volunteer captains three years ago.
One of those captains, Thurman Herring, brought the idea to the Duplin County Rescue Association, who pushed the project off the ground. Because as Herring sees it, those volunteers never got the recognition they deserve.
"I think someone needs to know their story. In a few years, there won't be any volunteers, and they will be gone," Herring, a 14-year-volunteer, said.
Herring's own volunteer career got started in the mid 1990s, but volunteers were helping Duplin County residents many years before Herring took up the mantle.
"They were the real pioneers in those days. That's the way I saw it, and eventually, there won't be nobody. I just want the real people to get recognized. I'd call them heroes," Herring said.
"They volunteered. They got out of bed two to three times a night to answer calls and then got up to work in the morning," said Rescue Association member Sprunt Hall.
Emergency response volunteers, however, have more responsibilities than just responding to emergency calls in the middle of the night, and a lot of people don't realize that, Herring said.
Volunteers need annual training to be effective in the field. For those in administrative positions, running a department takes equipment, which can cost some major dollars. And that means holding fundraisers and filing grants to raise the needed money.
There also were monetary sacrifices by the individual volunteers -- such as making sure an emergency truck had enough gas to respond in time.
"This was a big part of people's lives back when it was volunteer," said Kelly Brock, secretary treasurer of the Duplin County Rescue Association.
And that's why Herring brought it to the association. The original idea was to create some benches, but the idea evolved to a four-foot tall black marble memorial on the southern lawn of the Duplin County Courthouse. Money for the memorial was raised by soliciting donations.
"It's not the biggest in the world, but it shows that there were people before there were paid people," Herring said.
The dedication will begin at 3 p.m. The speaker will be Gordon Joyner of the N.C. State Association of Rescue and EMS. Those involved in the project also will make remarks. Light refreshments will be served immediately following the dedication.
"We encourage all volunteer members to attend -- family members who know volunteers, anybody that wants to come out," Mrs. Brock said.