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Squad searching for new volunteers

The Cartersville Volunteer Rescue Squad (CVRS) is seeking new members and volunteers to help run calls and has created a scholarship to help ease the burden of costs associated with the training.

The scholarship program began months ago after the squad received two donations for the purpose of training new members.

“The scholarship will assist qualified individuals to pay the training expenses required to become (emergency medical technicians) or drivers,” Squad President Earlene Canaan said. “We cannot function without EMTs and drivers and there are not many individuals in Cartersville who can pay (for the cost of training).”

The CVRS currently has 11 volunteers, and the number of applications being filled out to become EMTs has declined over the years, Canaan said.

She said the experience shows a change in culture: the cost of training and busy lives all play large roles in the decline of the volunteer base.

“Older individuals grew up in a culture where community and those in it were valued and there was a sense of responsibility for giving back to that community and the individuals in it; we have seen that community commitment decline,” Canaan said.

“Many families’ workdays are extended by two-hour travel times and some have to work two jobs,” Canaan added. “In many families, both the husband and wife work, leaving time off the only time when all family-related tasks and activities can be accomplished.”

According to Canaan, the average cost of training to become an EMT has grown to more than $500.

She said the last course she heard about cost roughly $400, $100 for the book and $50 for the testing. This, Canaan said, also plays a significant role in the lack of people interested in training.

The scholarship eligibility requirements are still being worked out, Canaan said, but include being a member of the CVRS, past educational success, a willingness to commit the time and study to learn the required information and skills, a willingness to contract with the squad and serving with the squad for a length of time determined by the amount of money provided.

Those interested in becoming a member of the CVRS or interested in training to become an EMT or driver should contact Canaan at cvvrs5@gmail.com or (804) 375-3399.