The history of the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad begins in 1964 and extends to the present. Driven by the spirit of volunteerism and powered by the hard work, dedication and selflessness of hundreds of volunteers, Sterling Rescue has transformed from a small rural ambulance capability to a modern emergency management organization, staffed and equipped with the latest advanced life support expertise and technology.
The current Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad was founded in 1964 as a result of the Sterling Park Jaycee’s “Grand Project,” first proposed by John A. Costello, Charter President of the Sterling Park Jaycees.
Don Kelly was the Charter President, and Jake Burkowski was the Charter Captain. The first ambulance was a used ’59 Chevrolet Carryall, housed at Arlyn Black’s Shell Station. On Feb. 27, 1965, SVRS ran its first call, a motor vehicle accident.
The organization continued to grow in response to the needs of the community. In 1966, SVRS purchased its first new ambulance, a 1966 Chevy Carryall. In the early years, volunteers responded to calls from their homes, parking the vehicles at their houses. In November 1967, the organization moved into its first headquarters at 304 N. Sterling Blvd. On May 7, 1968, a fire destroyed the 1959 Carryall Ambulance.
The community continued to grow, and technology became more complex. A modern station was needed to house Sterling’s rescue and fire suppression. On January 7, 1971, Station 15 was dedicated at 104 Commerce Street in Sterling Park. It was a single-floor station, housing both rescue, and fire capabilities. Sterling Rescue had a modern headquarters for its operations. The narrative at the time was “Finally a headquarters building we’ll never outgrow!” The needs of the community, advances in emergency medical services, and fire support practices and equipment would eventually result in an increase in requirements beyond what could be envisioned at that time. In 1971, “Sterling 1″ was placed in service. Sterling 1 was a GMC/Swab Crash Truck – the most advanced piece of equipment in Loudoun County at the time.
The 1980's & 1990's
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Eastern Loudoun County experienced an explosive growth, and the volunteers were increasingly responding to calls in new areas north of Route 7. A small sub-station was built in the Sugarland Run area to house equipment for volunteers responding to calls from their homes, reducing the response time for calls in the new areas of the community.
The community continued to grow. The number of volunteers grew, and the call volume increased. To reduce the response time, the volunteers began sleeping at the stations. With this change in operational practice and the increase in complexity of emergency medical services, more space was needed.
In 1989, a renovation added a second floor and bay support areas to Station 15, including sleeping areas, training room and much needed storage. Bunks were added to the bay of the Sugarland Run Substation.
Volunteers slept right next to their trucks, ready to respond to the next call.
The 1990’s saw the development of the Cascades area of Sterling, north of Route 7 and west of Sugarland Run. Cascades was a planned community, and the community design provided for a fire and rescue station.
Station 25, at 46700 Middlefield Drive, was built and placed in service on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1997.
Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad’s headquarters moved from Station 15 to Station 25, where it remains today.
With Sterling built out to the Potomac River in the north, the development began to the west. Station 35 was built as an element of Kincora, a planned community, in a public/private partnership between Loudoun County and the developer. Station 35 was opened in November 2013. This large, modern station supports the western side of Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad’s area of responsibility.
Today, Sterling Rescue has a large cadre of volunteers, spawned from the foundation of the hundreds of volunteers who have served our organization in the past, now with the latest training and equipment, but still reflecting the spirit of its founders.
The Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad is a modern emergency medical service, on duty as you read this, with dedicated volunteers, men, and women who are empowered to save lives through their training and experience and inspired to serve their community, ready for the challenges of today and tomorrow.