Owen County Rescue Team
The Owen County Rescue Team (OCRT) was established as the result of a tragic crash on US Highway 231 in September 1976 that claimed the life of a young Gosport area resident, Allen Hall. The crash, and resulting rescue of Hall’s passenger, revealed a tremendous need for emergency rescue equipment in the county. In the days and weeks that followed the crash, a project was initiated that resulted in the
county's county’s first rescue team. That was more than 45 years ago.
In the weeks following Allen’s death, a project was initiated to raise money to purchase and equip a rescue truck for the county and thus the Allen Hall Memorial Fund began. Spearheaded in 1976 by Local Businesses, the Delta Theta Tau Sorority and the former Spencer Jaycees, the project resulted in the purchase of some basic tools and a used truck to be manned by a volunteer rescue team.
During the last 45 years automobile extrication has evolved from the use of wrecker cables, pry bars and other minimal hand tools, to hydraulic Hurst Jaws of Life, cutters, spreaders, rams and other modern equipment. With the equipment and a dedicated staff of volunteers,
OCRT has saved many lives and protected countless people from having injuries compounded during the extrication process.
In 1997 a major effort was initiated by members of the team. With their efforts and the support of the community, they were able to purchase and place into service debt free a new F350 truck (Rescue 1). This truck is still in service and is now dedicated to serving the needs of the team’s rope and water rescue, a pull vehicle for a unit known as “M.E.R.V” (Multipurpose Emergency Response Vehicle) and is backup to Rescue 2 for auto extrication. More recently a 1995 International Heavy Rescue truck was purchased by the Allen Hall Memorial Fund from Momeyer Fire and Rescue of North Carolina and quickly transformed by the team members into their current First out unit, known as Rescue 2.
The rescue team, currently involving about 15 volunteers, offers the kind of service that can only be assessed by the number of lives they save every year. Although some of the runs do not involve life threatening circumstances, it is well documented that many call-outs absolutely deal with life and death situations. Since the inception of The Rescue Team, we have added more disciplines of rescue to include Search and Rescue, Rope Rescue and Swift water rescue.
Although the truck and tools are necessities, they would be useless without the dedicated volunteers who step up to the job of donating many hours to be trained in the proper use of every tool on the trucks. In the case of a serious highway crash or other emergency the rescue team must use their training to quickly free a trapped person or persons before Owen County Emergency Medical Services personnel can complete their equally important job. They are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they are called out often. Their only pay comes in the satisfaction of knowing they have done their very best to help those in need.
The current directors of the Allen Hall Memorial Fund are Cris Lunsford, Jack White, and Dave Keith. Anyone desiring to donate to the rescue program should direct the gift to the Allen Hall Memorial Fund/Rescue, in care of Cris Lunsford at the Owen County EMS, 367 West State Hwy 46, Spencer, IN 47460. All funds are totally dedicated to the purchase of rescue equipment or maintenance of the equipment used by the team.
If you want to volunteer your time to this great cause, please contact Cris Lunsford EMS Director at 812-829-4446.