History of the Jefferson County Rescue Squad
In the early 1940's Jefferson County became the site of two large TVA dams creating lakes on the north and south sides of the county. Fishing and other lake recreations became very popular in Jefferson County. As a result, our county and the lakes were the site of many boating accidents, along with frequent drownings and serious injuries. When those accidents happened in our county, it was necessary to call other people from surrounding counties that had equipment and trained personnel. Several people in our county were concerned that we had to rely on other counties to come to our rescue when we had emergencies. We had one person concerned enough to take action.
Homer Rickard of Strawberry Plains, a commercial fisherman, made personal contact with several citizens of Jefferson County and found there was interest in organizing a Rescue Squad in the county. On May 6, 1963, a meeting was held at the Jefferson County Courthouse. A large number of people were in attendance and an overwhelming support for establishing a Rescue Squad in Jefferson County. In 1963, Homer Rickard was elected as the first Captain of the Rescue Squad. Other officers elected were 1st Lt. Pat Holt, 2nd Lt. Tom Eslinger, Sergeant Avery Hodgson, Chaplain Bill Howell, Secretary Hubert Brown, Treasurer Bruce Frazier, Historians Curtis French and George Higgins, and Unit Director R.E. "Toad" Farrar. The membership totaled 49 men. The people of Jefferson County responded with donations of equipment and financial assistance. The Newport Rescue Squad came to our county to conduct training and support to ensure Jefferson County would have well trained personnel. Sevier and Hamblen counties were also credited with providing a tremendous amount of support to the Jefferson County Rescue Squad beginning. Property given by Jefferson County, now near the intersection of Highway 92 and Industrial Park Road, was the first building site. Many hours were put in by the members along with others to build. In later years, when the state constructed Highway 92, the building had to be moved to its current location on Industrial Park Road. Within a short time, Jefferson County had the equipment, trained personnel, and strong support from the citizens in the county.