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Ambulances 3 and 3-1 welcomed into the fold

By Staff | Jul 22, 2016

The Shepherdstown Fire Department family welcomed guests Sunday afternoon as they dedicated two new ambulances at Station 3 and rededicated an EMS?vehicle.

The apparatus, costing approximately $500,000, were built based on the concerns of emergency responders with patient comfort.

“These purchases [of the two ambulances] come after more than two years of planning,” said EMS Chief Marshall DeMeritt.

DeMeritt compared to the purchase of the first ambulance the station had back in 1963 to that of today.

“Supplies in one of the cabinets [inside the ambulance] cost over $3,000 alone,” he said. The ambulance purchased in 1963 came in total at approximately $2,500.

The department dedicated the ambulances to those who had gone before in creating the oldest fire department in the state of West Virginia.

The rededication of the ES vehicle was done in honor of Tice Tenant, who served with the department for many years.

Ambulance 3-1 was dedicated to former company Chaplain and EMS Lt. Charles Cathcart. Cathcart passed away in 1992, but his widow, June, and several family members were on hand for the celebration.

The dedication of Ambulance 3 was in honor of the Shepherdstown Homemakers Club who were the organzing group in obtaining that first ambulance in 1963 (see related story on Page 11). On hand to unveil the marker were two members of that club, Mary Ann Morgan and Betty Lowe.

After the unveiling of the memorial placards on each vehicle, members of the department took turns wetting down the two new ambulances.

The tradition originally began as a practical joke when members of other departments would arrive at dedication ceremonies to hose off members and has grown into part of the ritural invoved in placing new apparatus into service.

After all members who wished to engage in the hosing down were finished, the members pushed the new ambulances into the bays, also part of the placement of new equipment into service.

Ambulance 3 was immediately available for calls following the ceremony; however, Ambulance 3-1 still needs a bit of work.

The arrival of the new ambulances came none too soon as the company’s older two ambulances both are out of service. They have been using a loaner ambulance from Friendship Fire Company in Harpers Ferry. Members from that company and others around the county were on hand to celebrate with Shepherdstown’s members.

“This is a new source of pride for our community,” said Ross Morgan, fire chief.

DeMeritt took time to commend the community for its continued support, especially financially, for the department.

“We have bingo every Wednesday; we still have apple butter and you can get your Sportsman’s Bash tickets today,” he said with a laugh.

But in all seriousness, he said, that without the financial support of the townspeople, the company would never have been able to obtain these new ambulances or any of the equipment used by the department to keep the community safe.