By now I am sure you know I love this job of seeking out the many “unsung heroes” that quietly go about their work here in the County and allow me to write about their volunteer efforts to take care of our citizens. Every month I become more amazed with the work these great folks provide right here under our noses without us having a clue of the vast amount of time and effort they devote to caring for others. We are so very fortunate to have people who freely volunteer their time and energy for our common good!
This week I have the privilege of telling you the story of Chief Stanis P. Inscoe, a longtime volunteer with several of the rescue squads within the County. I learned of Stanis’ wonderful efforts while watching her recent interview by the anchors at Fox News Channel Five, WTTG in Washington, DC. She was being honored by Fox News and GEICO as a “Hometown Hero” for the major positive impact she has had on her community! Stanis has a long 31 year history of work with local rescue squads at every level, beginning with the formation of one of the first Emergency Medical Technician [EMT] classes when she was twenty years old. She later was involved in forming the Calvert Life Support Unit. She has held every job within the rescue world including chief cook and bottle washer and this zesty approach for this work allowed her election as Chief of Prince Frederick – Calvert County Company 4 in 1989, the first woman to hold this title in the County!
Stanis was born in Prince Georges County and moved to Southern Maryland with her family when they built a home in St. Mary’s. Not happy with the public schools there, her parents put her in Calvert Christian school in Broomes Island where she first discovered what a beautiful, enjoyable place Calvert County is to live. At a very early age she thought she would like to be a doctor and spent hours reading a standard Medical Dictionary. She became familiar with most medical terms and knew she wanted to be involved with people who required medical attention and support. At first she thought the local fire departments and rescue squads were “closed” organizations and only people with friends or connections were permitted to serve.
I am sure when Stanis found how easy it was to becoming a member, she was still confronted with the stigma of having to prove herself in what was then a man’s world of First Responders. She more than held her own and rose through the ranks to Chief in less than 6 years. In talking with her, it was immediately obvious she did not like talking about herself and was more comfortable discussing her great team of volunteers who deserve the credit for all the good work that is completed by the entire squad of 55 current members. Of these, more than 60% are female, a fact that I found surprising! When grilled on the reasons why, she stated this unbalance came about when becoming a firefighter was glorified in the media and on TV shows and in the movies. Men are greatly attracted to this more dangerous field as medics, caregivers and ambulance drivers are not considered as the manliest of tasks.
Yet, there exists a great need for more volunteers in all these roles and the Chief really hopes her story here will encourage all young people to get involved in this extremely critical work.
I asked the Chief what keeps her going after many years of volunteering in this tough business. She says it’s the adrenaline rush she gets every time she responds to a call and a passion she has always had for wanting to help others! She also indicates it is the drive and energy her team mates consistently display that keeps her going as well. Again, she beams with pride when talking about their professionalism and passion. She is proud of her many friends and neighbors who have been with her for years. She praised her President, Clarke, her partner who takes care of Admin issues. And Brenda who is there for her day in, day out going back decades. She praised Sonny for getting their building built! Finally, she revealed her family affair as her husband Don serves as her Chief Engineer and their 10 year old son Garrett is already a cadet on the squad charged with cleaning the equipment.
I chatted with Stanis and asked if there was a “downside” to this line of work; she says her worst day came when, as the new Chief, she came upon an accident and one of her members told her a new female member needed her help. Thinking she would help this member with whatever work that was needed, she was grief stricken to learn the victim was actually the new member and would succumb to her injuries. There have been other First Responders whose lives have been lost while in the service of others. It was a good reminder for me of the dedication of these citizens who daily put their lives on the line and are not even paid for their sacrifices. There is no doubt all of these terrific volunteers are some of the finest unsung heroes here in our little part of the world!
The Rescue Squad receives annual funding from the County and the Federal government, but with the prices of everything going up, there is never enough to go around. There are three ambulances that have a service life of 10 years and must be replaced. Members have developed means of raising additional funds through Pig Roasts, Dinners, Raffles, and various drives during the year. They would like me to tell you about their upcoming “Breakfast with Santa” on Saturday, December 19th from 8AM -11AM. For additional information contact the Rescue Squad at 410 535-9836.
Finally, if you or anyone you know has ever thought of “giving it back to the community” and would like to learn more information about becoming a Rescue Team Member, contact the Squad as well. There is probably no job in the County that is more satisfying nor gives you the pride in knowing you can make a real difference for a friend or neighbor.
Chief Stanis, I salute you and all the members of your squad for the great service you provide to our citizens day in, day out! I congratulate on your recognition as a Washington, DC “Hometown Hero”. And I want to thank you for your many years of untiring devotion to all of us!
If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.