There is a medical emergency of sorts in Richmond. There could soon be fewer ambulances on city streets. One volunteer rescue squad may have to close if it doesn't get donations.
West End Volunteer Rescue ambulances are just like Richmond Ambulance Authority trucks. They respond to 911 calls anywhere in the city. But if citizens don't come to their rescue with donations, they might not be able to come to theirs in times of crisis.
These lifesavers now need you to save the life of their squad.
"The support we receive from the community is very, very generous, but unfortunately it's not what it has been in the past," explained Thomas Hudson, who has been with the squad for about eight years.
The volunteers say they are masters of squeezing the most out of a dollar and have been working off of their savings for the past few years. Donations are down almost 70 percent since 2008.
That's a challenge because every time the ambulance rolls out the door, it costs hundreds of dollars. In what's become an urgent situation, it's possible West End won't have the money to keep the trucks and life-saving equipment running.
Members, who have been there for decades, tell NBC12 they've never seen fundraising this difficult.
"We are approaching a point where if we cannot increase the support we receive from the community, we may be in danger of shutting our doors after 52 years," Hudson said.
That could put a strain on the emergency system of the entire city.
"We function as any other ambulance in the city," Hudson added. "If one of our ambulances happens to be the closest to an emergency anywhere it may be in the city, we're going to be responding."
The squad has put together direct mail and social media fundraising campaigns. Soon, they'll also go door-to-door asking for help.
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