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Celebrating 50 years of SVAS as the threat of Henri loomed

SALISBURY — With the threat of a hurricane in the back of everyone’s mind, the members (past and present) of the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service (SVAS) convened at Trotta Field on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 21, to celebrate the service’s 50th anniversary. 

Mike Brenner took care to acknowledge the presence of Kenny Farwell, an original member of SVAS.

Salisbury First Selectman Curtis Rand read a resolution from the Board of Selectmen. In his remarks, he spoke of the bond of trust and commitment between SVAS and the town.

He said the town trusts SVAS “for good reason: You’ve proven yourselves over and over.”

Don Mayland, president of the SVAS Board of Trustees, said the amount of expertise represented in the membership is “staggering.”

State Rep. Maria Horn (D-64) read a congratulatory citation from the General Assembly, introduced by her and state Sen. Craig Miner (R-30). Horn said SVAS represents “the best of who we are.”

And Kitty Hickox, a former SVAS member who is a regional coordinator for the state Office of Emergency Medical Services, reminded the crowd that SVAS is one of “a handful” of similar organizations in the state that relies solely on donations.

“It’s an incredible accomplishment.”

Among the equipment on display was the Mass Casualty Incident Trailer, one of only three such units in the state.

The trailer held all sorts of equipment, including stretchers, sawhorses and body bags, which were set up outside.

Inside there was room for a small conference table and a communications area that enables SVAS personnel to keep in touch with other emergency agencies during a crisis.

It was a pleasant scene, with people milling around, munching hot dogs and chatting. But the next emergency situation was developing. Hurricane Henri was making its way up the East Coast, and the weather forecast for Sunday and Monday, Aug. 22 and 23, was ominous. Brenner said he and Jacquie Rice were fielding multiple phone calls, preparing for what could happen.

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