HUNTERSVILLE – The North Mecklenburg Volunteer Rescue Squad provides emergency medical and rescue services for eastern Huntersville and parts of northern Mecklenburg County, just as it did when it opened in 1959.
The rescue squad, which also included an ambulance service for more than a decade, actually predates Lake Norman.
The rescue squad celebrates its 55th anniversary April 5 with an open house at the station, off North Old Statesville Road.
“I’m really proud to be associated with an organization that has been around for so long,” said Joe Melton, who has been with the 40-member squad since 1994. “Our abilities have changed. Even though you don’t see rescue squads that often anymore, we’ve gone to one thing, and we’ve gotten very good at it.”
The rescue squad ceased handling transporting patients 12 years ago.
Melton said North Meck provided basic non-life-threatening life-support transport when MEDIC (Mecklenburg County’s emergency medical services) began handling all transportation services previously provided by the rescue squad.
While having lost some of its coverage area in recent years, the squad still makes a big contribution to the region, Chief John Stroup said.
Its annual call volume has stayed in the 2,200 range since 2007.
“I can’t imagine the total number of people we’ve helped in the 55-year time frame we’ve had,” said Stroup, a paramedic who joined the rescue squad in 1997.
“When I joined, we covered five fire districts: Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Long Creek and Gilead. We don’t have quite that reach anymore, but we still field a lot of calls and do what we can to help out as many people as we can.”
Stroup isn’t sure what will come of the rescue squad in the future. He acknowledged the town’s government has helped it significantly in the last 15 years, making sure the volunteers had what they needed to maintain the squad’s viability.
“Hopefully, we’ll still be here for a long time,” Stroup said. “Knowing we’re out here helping the community is what keeps me going.”
Want to go? The North Mecklenburg Rescue Squad holds an open house 11 a.m.-3 p.m. April 5 at 15503 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville. The event includes life-saving demonstrations, bounce house, face painting, cornhole games and free food. Details: www.northmeckrescue.org.