PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - UPDATE 1/18/14
The Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad is all about history.... formed after the tragic bus crash in 1958 that killed 26 children and the driver. The squad is getting ready to start a new chapter as construction on their headquarters nears completion and an important piece honoring their history is set to be installed this week.
With each stroke of a paint, the building Captain Tim Cooley has envisioned for eight years is coming together...a building folks can be proud of.
Co-Captain, Tom Hereford says, "I think members that started the squad would be proud of what we've done and what has come about....almost tear jerking to think about what we're getting here."
Hereford's grandfather was one of those founding members, also in the funeral business...burying several of the children who died in the crash. Herford says, "I think he'd be real proud of what we've accomplished and what we've got to show for those kids losing their life."
Members say it is that tragedy that now allows them to serve their community and why a 6 feet tall and about 7 feet wide memorial will stand in between the columns at the front of the building
Captain Cooley says, "Those people went through an ordeal that they never thought they'd have to go through and it is important that we remember where we came from and that that is not forgotten about."
It was an emotional project for the creator, Frank Slone, as he etched pictures of each child and the bus driver into the memorial.
Slone says, "It is hard to really say...brings a lot of tears," and he feels the community will feel the same when they see it.
They hope to install the memorial this coming week, but it will not be unveiled until the grand opening ceremony.
Captain Cooley says they plan to occupy the building within the next two or three weeks. A date for the grand opening has not been set.
Visit the link listed for information on how to donate to the memorial.
The Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad is getting closer to moving into their new headquarters in Prestonsburg and thanks to community support, the building is being built for less than half of its value.
Squad officials say the building is nothing short of a miracle and an example of a complete community effort. The building now stands with several weeks of hard work put into the new headquarters...a state of the art, million dollar building, being built for a price tag of just $350,000.
Captain Tim Cooley says, "That's because of the people in this county who have worked to donate materials...it wouldn't have happened otherwise."
The project's contractor is working for free, the roof installed for free, electricians and plumbers also working at no charge. Big Sandy Heating and Cooling also stepping up to donate both time and materials to a project owners say they are happy to be a part of.
Jerry Price says, "Glad to pitch in for a great cause. The Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad is a great cause and that's why we are out here and glad to be a part of it."
Captain Cooley, says folks help build the building truly out of the goodness of their hearts, "That is the reason I love this town and why I've been here all but one year of my life and that was the first year I was born...shows you they are some of the best."
Officials say it looks like they will be able to start moving equipment into their new headquarters by late November.
Officials are planning a formal grand opening for the first of the year when the community will be able to tour the facility and museum dedicated to the 1958 Floyd County School Bus crash victims.
ORIGINAL STORY 7/7/13
The Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad has expanded through the years, even adding a swift water rescue training course. However, with the expansions the squad has outgrown its current headquarters which has limited space with only one bay.
Squad Captain Tim Cooley says, "Having one bay to get in and out and make our calls...that golden hour means a lot for us."
Now, a project several years in the making is taking shape. Cooley says, "There is the footprint beginning and once the concrete pad is poured, I feel it goes up pretty quick before your eyes."
The new headquarters will have eight bays, but it is not just the added space the squad is looking forward to.
Cooley says, "There will be a very serious area for us, the history of our squad and those who have helped over the years."
A museum is planned to pay tribute to the squad's history. The squad was formed following the 1958 Floyd County School Bus Crash. Cooley says, "That was the day Floyd County stopped, when those children and the driver lost their lives, and those that suffered."
The museum will honor these children and the squad's founding members like, James B. Goble, who lost his three children in the crash. Newspaper articles and items like the original drag used to recover bodies will be in the museum.
Floyd County Judge Executive and former squad member, R.D. "Doc" Marshall says, "In 1958, when this tragedy occurred we did not have the means to recover and do the things that needed to be done, but some 50 years later we do have those means."
They say that is because of a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from folks in the community through the years.
Squad members say they hope to be moved into their new headquarters this fall.