Westport Ambulance Squad seeking new members

WESTPORT The Westport Ambulance Squad is looking for a few volunteers. Ben Sudduth, captain of the Westport Ambulance Squad, said the squad is in need of members to help fulfill its obligations. Currently there are 20 members, with nine certified EMTs - and many of them have been involved for more than a decade. People willing to become EMTs and drivers are needed. "The writing's on the wall - sooner or later you'll have to have paid coverage," said Sudduth. "The only way to help mitigate that happening is for more people to join the ambulance squad." Sudduth said increased training requirements and busy lifestyles make it hard to get people to join. There's also a lot of people that work outside of the community during the day, leading to a manpower shortage. "Some people think that someone else is going to do it - but if everyone thinks someone else is going to do it, then no one ends up doing it," said Sudduth. Jim Westover, Sr., a founding member of the squad over 40 years ago, still helps drive. Things have changed since he started - the original Westport ambulance was a refurnished hearse. Today, the crew is still devoted to provided emergency care and transport. "A lot of times we're lucky to get a crew here - we'd like some new members," said Westover. "The reason I stay in is to help with the shortage." "The way I feel, this is one of the things that makes a community a community, neighbors helping neighbors," said Thad Tryon, who has been a member since the 1980s. "The alternative of a paid squad, this little community can't afford to support it." Tryon said the reward is the satisfaction of helping people. "It's one of those things you've got to do for the sake of wanting to help. We've got a good core group of people, but we really need some new blood and more help. A lot of people don't work in the community, and during weekdays we need more help." The Westport Ambulance Squad receives about 150 calls a year. Sudduth said he welcomes any questions from interested community members. For more information on joining the ambulance squad, call 962-4927.

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