By Aila Boyd
Last Wednesday, a re-dedication of the Read Mountain Fire and Rescue Station was held.
After being a joint station between Botetourt and Roanoke counties for 30 years, the station is now a Botetourt-owned and -operated facility following the approval of a new operational agreement between the two localities in May of this year.
The county noted that the event was held to “celebrate our past and look forward to a bright future providing the highest levels of public safety service to the residents and businesses of Botetourt County, Roanoke County, and the rest of the Valley.”
Ray Sloan, who represents the Buchanan District on the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors and is the chaplain for the Botetourt County Department of Fire & EMS, spoke at the ceremony.
Billy Martin, the chairman of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors, provided background of the 30-year agreement joint-operational agreement between the two counties that recently ended.
He noted that when someone dials 911, they don’t care about the name of the side of the ambulance or fire engine. Instead, he said, they’re simply concerned about receiving the help they need.
“I want to sincerely thank Roanoke County for all the time and manpower provided over the past 30 years,” he said. “We’re really excited to see what the next 30 years will bring.”
Dr. Mac Scothorn, who represents the Valley District on the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors, provided Jason Ferguson, the chief of the Botetourt County Department of Fire & EMS, with a statement that was read during the ceremony. Scothorn, who represents the Read Mountain area, wasn’t able to attend the event due to a prior commitment.
“I want you to know how excited I am to see the Read Mountain Station become a complete Botetourt County operation,” Scothorn’s statement read. “I know that the men and women that have volunteered at this station for nearly the past three decades have done so out of the kindness of their hearts to serve their community.”
Scothorn’s statement went on to thank all of the first responders who have contributed to the station throughout the years.
He added that he hopes the station will become a model for how career and volunteer staff are able to work side by side to ensure the safety of the community.
Jim Short, a past chief at the station, said that it was “remarkable” that the joint agreement held up over the course of the past 30 years.
“I think we fared well in the past 30 years. We have a nice station. We have nice equipment. In that respect, I think we did well,” he said.
Ferguson said that it filled him with pride to be at the station that night to be a part of the transition to Botetourt County.
“I know this has been talked about for well over five years in various groups with various leadership,” he explained. “The one thing we did know was that Read Mountain Fire and Rescue Station was always solidly planted in Botetourt County and served both communities very well.”
He described the Bonsack and Read Mountain areas of Botetourt County as a “melting pot” because there are areas where one side of the street is located in Botetourt County and the other part of the street is located in Roanoke County. Echoing Martin’s comment, he stressed that citizens care more about having properly trained fire & EMS professionals respond to their needs than which locality they belong to.
The station was established in 1991 by Botetourt and Roanoke Counties to serve portions of southwest Botetourt County and east Roanoke County. It currently has 26 members.
The station is located at 43 Eastpark Drive in Roanoke.