“(The Walker County squad) was a member of the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads, and we hosted the convention on our 25th anniversary of the Walker County Rescue Squad,” said Dennis Freeman, a former member. “Part of the activities that day was to plant the time capsule. We had squads from all over the state of Alabama.”
More members showed up Tuesday carrying umbrellas as the rain started to fall. Those who were present included Freeman, Floyd and Fay Guthrie, Donnie and Nancy Cagle, Don Gray, Shirley Key, Chuck Wright and Steve Dutton. Freeman said there were originally 15 members who were present at the signing of the first organizational meeting.
Donnie Cagle added to Freeman’s comment, saying that at one point the Walker County squad was the premier rescue squad in the state.
“We were the first ones in Walker County to get the jaws of life,” Cagle said. “We saved a man’s life that day when we first got it. It was down on 69 Highway.”
The squad still remains in Walker County; however, there are very few members. The name has also changed over a span of years to what is now known as Alabama Search and Rescue (SAR). According to the Central Alabama SAR website, “Central Alabama SAR was formerly Walker County Rescue which was formed in 1965 as a Civil Defense squad. Over the years the squad began to specialize and in 2005 began Search & Rescue operations SAR K-9 (Live, cadaver, HRD), a Public Safety Dive Team and Rope Rescue teams.”
Those in attendance Tuesday recalled many memories about times when they were called out to automobile accidents, water recoveries and searches for lost children and elderly citizens. They also provided ambulance services for all the football games in the county on Friday nights.
After an hour of digging and prying, the Jasper Fire Department was called to help lift the time capsule out of the ground. Squad members and civilians interested in a part of Walker County history gathered around the earthen hole to sneak a peek at what was buried inside 25 years ago. Freeman and others pulled out pictures, a green rescue squad cap, old membership cards, clippings of those running for office in 1988 and an old bottle of Chivas Regal Blended Scotch Whiskey.