60 Years of Service

Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s first volunteer rescue squad is celebrating its 60th anniversary! Over the years, thousands of CARS volunteers have donated countless hours, responding to hundreds of thousands of 911 calls.

The vision for the squad began in 1958, when a building under demolition near Court Square collapsed suddenly, trapping a passer-by in the rubble. Joel Cochran and Ted Patterson, two citizens with first-aid training, rescued the man and decided a local rescue squad was needed. They, along with John Pannel and Charlie Rausch started collecting equipment and teaching first-aid classes.

At that time, the only way an individual could get transported to a hospital was by a family member or friend or by calling a funeral home for a ride in one of their hearses.

On November 15, 1960, the forty-two member squad started providing first-aid services and hospital transportation. Volunteers responded to calls from their homes. Their original fleet consisted of 2 van ambulances, along with 3 station wagons owned by squad members.

In 1963, they built the station at 828 McIntire Rd, which has been added onto multiple times to allow for growth and the addition of needed vehicles and equipment.

Over the years, CARS accomplishments have been highlighted in many magazines, medical journals and periodicals for their outstanding cutting edge, forward thinking service; their award winning EMS teams, and for being one of the busiest volunteer stations in the country.

CARS’ commitment to our community is unwavering. They currently have over 150 volunteers who continue to provide emergency medical and rescue services 24/7, despite COVID. Their fleet has grown to more than a dozen vehicles and they continue to run over 6,000 calls a year.

CARS belongs to this community and has flourished all these years because of the generosity of so many. “We are proud of our 60-year history of providing excellent care for the citizens of the Charlottesville and Albemarle communities. With your support, we can continue our service for the next sixty years!” said Board President, Jon Howard.