Celebrating a half-century of service
Bill Henderson, of Reedville, was honored recently for his 50 years of service as an emergency medical services volunteer.
Northumberland County’s Board of Supervisors will likely have to listen to at least two contentious public hearings Thursday night, but before that, they will probably have the more pleasant duty of adopting a resolution thanking Bill Henderson of Reedville for his 50 years of service as an emergency medical services volunteer.
Henderson began his service with the Albemarle County rescue squad in 1963. Later, when he began to spend more time in Reedville, he became the training officer for the Northumberland Rescue Squad in which he continues to be active at the age of 81.
When Henderson was given the Peninsula Emergency Services Council’s award as the region’s “Outstanding Prehospital EMS Provider” in 2002 he had been on 50 percent of all the Northumberland squad’s emergency runs in the prior two years. By then, in addition to going on service runs as an EMS provider himself, Henderson had already been teaching EMS certification courses since 1976.
By the time Henderson was nominated for and won the Governor’s award as the regions’ outstanding provider in 2002, he had completed 21 different training classes himself. He had also won numerous awards for his dedication.
The county’s three rescue squads, Henderson’s own Northumberland Rescue Squad, Mid-County Rescue Squad and Callao Rescue Squad, honored Henderson with a party earlier this month.
Rescue squad members noted that the dedication of volunteers such as Henderson has allowed the county to avoid the expense of a county funded professional rescue organization. They worry, however, that as their memberships become older and not enough new volunteers come in, that situation may not last forever.
After the early part of the Supervisors’ meeting when the matter of a resolution of appreciation to Henderson will come up, the hearings expected to involve some heat will arise.
Raymond Swanson’s application for permission to operate an aircraft landing strip on Hull Creek, which had been carried over, will be back for additional consideration. Numerous people have expressed concerns that landing seaplanes on the creek will be dangerous and noisy enough to disturb the those living along the creek.
Applications for permission to operate tourist homes in the county have routinely drawn opposition and Janice Walton’s application for a permit to operate one at 710 Forest Green Road near Burgess may not be an exception.
The Board meets at the new courthouse in Heathsville at 5 p.m. Thursday. The public hearings will start at 7 p.m.Rich Goszka, a conservation police sergeant with the DGIF, said in a recent interview that the risk of shark attacks in the Northern Neck region is, “very minimal.”
“This is just like anything in the world, there is always a risk or a hazard whenever you do anything… the odds of an attack are very, very slim,” Goszka said.
With that in mind, Goszka has several recommendations for swimmers entering the water during Labor Day weekend.
“Be aware of your surroundings when you’re swimming. Always have someone with you watching out, and…don’t go to areas that are beyond your (swimming) capability or could put you at risk out there,” he said.
If swimmers do encounter a shark, Goszka asks that they “notify local law enforcement,” and exit the water.
Bull sharks are not the only species common to the area. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, there are at least 12 species of shark found in the Bay, areas rivers and their tributaries. Besides bull sharks, the most common visitors to the Bay include sandbar sharks, sand tiger sharks and smooth dogfish sharks; most of these are not considered a threat to human swimmers.
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) stresses that shark attacks, especially in this area, are extremely rare. According to their website, a personb is three times more likely to be hit by lightning than to be bitten by a shark.
With the odds in swimmers’ favor, common sense is favored over panic.
“If you do feel something bump you in the water, by all means get out!” Goszka said, with a laugh.