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Rescue squad on verge of closing amid embezzlement investigation

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office is investigating the administrator of the Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Squad.

"She is suspended without pay pending this investigation," Sheriff Brian Roberts said.

As a result, the rescue squad is doing all it can to cut expenses to try to keep the doors open.

In January, the administrator asked the Board of Supervisors for an advance payment so the rescue squad could make payroll and pay expenses.

The Board of Supervisors declined the request and set up an oversight committee to look at rescue squad's day-to-day operations.

Shortly after, the sheriff's office was called out and an investigation was launched.

Darleen Ferguson, a member of the rescue squad who joined in 1988, called the situation heartbreaking.

"Very disappointed. I've lost sleep and have cried over it," Ferguson said.

The investigation found the department's expenses far exceed the amount of money coming in. However, Brunswick is by far the busiest of the three county rescue squads. In fact, Brunswick Rescue ran 1495 calls, compared to Alberta's 958 and Central's 727 calls for service in 2013.

Ray Thomas, who works and lives in the Brunswick Rescue Squad territory, said he and his neighbors are worried about the possibility the rescue squad could close if the financial situation doesn't change.

Ferguson said some paid staffers have returned on their off days to volunteer to keep ambulances on the roads.


  • George Noneyah

    Paid emplyees? Payroll? Where does the word “Volunteer” come into play? When it costs over $600 to transport a sick person to the hospital and be called “Volunteer” something is wrong anyway. Just say what it is…Brunswick Rescue Squad…drop the “Volunteer”…just saying….whoever the administrator is should be ashamed.

  • Bet

    A rescue squad can have a paid crew as well as volunteers. Considering transporting someone to the hospital costs money (fuel, equipment, ambulance maintenance, just to name a few) charging an ambulance fee does not mean the squad isn’t “volunteer.’ People volunteer their time to aide those that are sick and need ambulance services. Becoming an EMT, whether at the basic, intermediate, or paramedic level isn’t free. The squads typically pay for their members to get these certifications so they can better understand and help someone when they are ill. So before you go spouting off about volunteer vs. paid staff, maybe you should brush up on the reason any rescue squad would charge a fee. This article is about something far worse than charging for services and really makes the community lose trust and faith in the squad. If you feel the need to focus on dropping the word “volunteer” find the correct platform to do so. The comment box on this article is obviously not going to get you your desired outcome. Or, like most uniformed people who speak with ignorance, just continue to fuss about it while not really even looking or caring for a certain outcome. I do agree with your last statement, however, the administrator should be ashamed if guilty.

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