On Saturday, March 11, 2023, members of the LC-CFRS came together to honor the life and service of Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad member Doug Rambo. Doug started his volunteer journey with the Alert Fire Company in Downingtown, PA where he served as a firefighter and dispatcher. Doug’s professional career brought him to the Northern VA area. His first stop was the Central Intelligence Agency where he served in the newly established office tasked with the integration of the Digital Encryption System (DES) to enhance the security of communications. Doug left government service for the private sector so he could continue developing and enhancing the application of DES. Doug’s achievements in both the government and private sector were noted to be “significant achievements that would stand the test of time”.
In 1981 Doug found a home with the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad, Doug’s family and friends recall him taking a response vehicle to his home; first in Sugarland then in Countryside. From there Doug would respond to calls for assistance arriving well ahead of units from the only existing Sterling Station in Sterling Park. Doug found a forever home in Loudoun County, his role as an advocate for volunteers and the advancement of the rapidly growing system called him to a significant leadership role at a pivotal time in our System’s history. At the time the System’s governance committee was the Fire-Rescue Commission. In the 28 years of this Commission’s existence, Doug was the Chairperson for 14 of those years. Today, we still see Doug’s handiwork in older FRGs that are still in use in our system. Doug was also instrumental in the station development plan that brought Station 18/25 from concept to reality in Cascades. Doug was also a founding faculty member for the nationally recognized CONTOMS (Counter Narcotics and Terrorism Operational Medical Support) program. Doug’s ability to partner with agencies across the spectrum brought a 56-hour course to law enforcement and EMS personnel focused on the delivery of medical support in a variety of high-risk tactical operations. The program started in 1989 and is still an outstanding training program offered throughout the country today. Once again, Doug’s achievements in Loudoun County and beyond are significant and will forever stand the test of time.
Doug’s funeral was a partnership of the elements of Doug’s life that meant the most to him. His family: wife Mary, son Kenny, daughter Beth, granddaughter Avi and brothers Bryan and Robin heard and saw first-hand how the Combined System of Loudoun County Fire-Rescue came together to honor Doug contributions and achievements. Beginning in Leesburg, Doug was transported in procession to Christ the King Lutheran Church in Great Falls, VA. Every overpass along RT7 was staffed with system members, both career and volunteer. Doug’s procession paused briefly in front of Station 18/25, a facility and equipment that were the direct result of Doug’s passion and commitment. Members of our combined system stood at attention to honor Doug’s service. At the church, Doug was fondly remembered for his “quirkiness”, he was a man with a brilliant capacity for numbers and concepts that most of us fear. At his core, he was a humanitarian, committed to the welfare of his fellow citizens whether in response to their calls for help or in developing system policies to enhance the delivery of our services. Doug’s funeral was the perfect display of LC-CFRS at its best. The lines were blurred between patches and colors of the apparatus, in tribute to Doug it was another significant achievement that will stand the test of time.
From the Weekly Message of Assistant Chief James Williams to all Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System Members, March 15, 2023