Lee County Squad In Need Of Financial Rescue
Posted April 8, 2002 3:01 a.m. EDT
LEE COUNTY, N.C. — Rescue squads are often the first responders during an emergency. Lee County could be in serious trouble, because it does not have enough money to keep its squad running.
The Lee County Rescue Squad provides medical help until an ambulance can get to the scene of an emergency. The squad lost its funding from the county because of budget cuts, and if it does not find money soon, it will be forced to shut down.
The rescue squad already operates on a shoestring budget. It leases an ambulance for free from a local hospital, but members have to pay for gas.
More and more often, the volunteers are spending hundreds of dollars of their own money to do so.
"Our members are paying for fuel to put in the trucks out of their pockets just to keep the place going," said Chief Pat Garner of the Lee County Rescue Squad.
Although the group has raised some money by working at events like motorcross races, Garner said it is not nearly enough to cover the costs of responding to 1,500 calls a year.
Private donations to the rescue squad are also down. Members said that they plan to ask the county for money again, and may even ask commissioners to pass a tax that would fund their operations.