Rock the Squads Started with a Simple Idea

It is probably counter intuitive that a city as large as Virginia Beach (over 450,000 in population) would still rely on volunteers, a fairly rural tradition, to provide emergency medical services.

But if you’re injured or sick in the resort city, the odds are an ambulance manned by regular citizens, well trained to administer life saving care, will arrive at the scene. Today more than a thousand men and women, ages 18 and up, answer the call, many “running” a weekly 12-hour shift that they incorporate into their otherwise busy work or family schedules.

Shouldn’t someone thank them for this sacrifice of their time and energy?

We are aware of the ten volunteer rescue squads and operational support teams because of the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad Foundation, for whom we have furnished public relations services for ten years. But we sensed that the general population needs a reminder given that the squads depend on the broader community for donations and/or to take classes and become EMTs themselves.

Our plan? A major one-day event called Rock the Squads! at Mount Trashmore where we invite all the volunteers and their families for a free catered lunch, a souvenir t-shirt, a customized challenge coin, a concert featuring a popular local band and an opportunity to be in a mass picture shot from a drone hovering over the crowd.

And maybe best of all, we would raise the money to pay our coordination fees as well as for the meal, the music, the attire, the tents, etc. It took seven months to pull the event together. Thank you to our sponsors:

  • Sentara
  • Department of EMS
  • Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation
  • Dominion
  • TowneBank
  • Charles Barker
  • Eddie Garcia’s Foundation
  • and more

Also thanks to our team led by Senior Account Manager Ashley Martin.

All the vendors were excellent. Sentara even flew in its Nightingale helicopter, which was a huge hit.

The result? Mayor Will Sessoms, who spoke on a megaphone to the crowd gathered on the mountain, was thrilled, encouraging us to do this again next year. The volunteers were equally enthusiastic, thanking us profusely for putting the event together. We were particularly proud, watching the paramedics with their parents, grandparents, spouses and children (and grandchildren) frolicking in the park, dancing to The Deloreans in their yellow Rock the Squads! t-shirts and wolfing down the chicken and barbecue. “It made us all feel like a big family,” said one volunteer. This day, all of us at RCG felt like part of that family too.