Travis Mitchell was named the Western Albemarle Rescue Squad’s Volunteer of the Year at the squad’s annual awards dinner at King Family Vineyard in Crozet Jan. 29.
Squad president Bill Wood teased Mitchell as he presented him the plaque, telling him he was only winning a “popularity award.”
The awards had been preceded by an impressive slide show of snapshots that captured the life of volunteers, at emergencies and at the squad house, over the last year. Occasionally messages the squad had received from someone it had transported were put on the screen.
“Your care and your professionalism kept that day from being more devastating than it was,” said one. “The compassion and care you manifest are that extra help we all hope for in our weakest moments,” said another. These sincere thank yous clearly made the volunteers proud.
“We’re all volunteer, all the time,” said Wood. “We’re nice people, doing the right thing and really making a difference.”
The Frances Henry Award, given to the volunteer who answered the most calls of all types, went to Kelsey Mietla.
Rookie of the Year went to Seth Wood.
The Chief’s Award, which Wood said is meant to reflect solely on merit, went to Kenny Bruce.
The President’s Award went to Greg Paquin. Wood explained that Paquin deserved it “because he gave much more time than he has to.”
“Western Rescue has existed since 1978,” said Wood. “We’re very proud of what we have done. We’re doing what we can, the very best way we can.”
WARS answered 1,100 calls in 2012, Wood said, with a total of about 80 volunteers engaged.
“We are so grateful to the community for the support we get. We consider ourselves blessed,” said Wood.