FURINA RESCUE SQUAD: “Look Who Found Himself!”

A group of civic minded gentlemen found a need and organized to fill it. Someone needed to transport ill persons and accident victims to Raleigh hospitals and/or the local Fuquay-Varina Branch Hospital. All volunteers, these citizens created our first Rescue Squad.

Prior to their organization, ambulance service had originated with the funeral homes, actually beginning with Joe Ballentine’s Ambulance purchase advertised in 1926 as part of the services of Varina Mercantile opposite the Fuquay Mineral Spring.


Ballentine Ambulance

On April 12, 1972, 15 charter members held their organizational meeting at Sugg Funeral Home. Incorporated on May 2, 1972 as FURINA RESCUE, the group operated under President Donald Powell. They purchased their first ambulance, a used model from Roanoke Rapids Rescue Squad.

Donald Powell on the job as President

The town offered to renovate the old Tilley House as an operational base the following November. The Furina Rescue Squad renovated the old Rural Fire Department Building across from then Town Hall and moved there February 4, 1980.

Nine Ladies Auxiliary Charter Members created their organization January 5, 1978 with help from the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fire Department. Over the years, services were extended to include duty crews on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Cardiac care, child birth, automobile accidents, drownings, search and rescue and first aid instruction became available services to the community.

The Furina Rescue disbanded and was reorganized in 1991 as the Fuquay-Varina Area Rescue Squad. Again, Donald Powell served as first president. Eventually, the work of the Rescue Squad was consolidated under Wake EMS in 1999.

Shortly before his death, Donald and his wife donated a number of artifacts from the Rescue Squad to the Fuquay-Varina Museums. Billy and Sara Tew provided additional uniforms and materials. A picture in the museums attracted the attention of Gabriel Briley Sr., the first black member of the volunteer group on a recent visit.

Gabriel Briley Sr. views the museum display

This section of our history is located in the jail area of the museums along with our Police and Fire displays. A recent item was a radio used for communication in the early days donated by Billy Tew. Citizens who may have additional artifacts and records to donate are encouraged to bring these to the staff. These will become a permanent part of our archival collection.