On Oct. 10, the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad lost Elmer Randolph “Randy” Pugh a member of more than forty years. Randy, who was 80, dedicated a major part of his life to the squad, once serving as captain and also as a Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation board member.
Randy’s service to VBVRS and passion for volunteering is recounted here by a squad mate who was with him every step of the way.
By Bobby Hill
I joined the Va. Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad in January 1972, and Randy joined just a few months later. I ran duties with him on a regular basis and enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t mind riding with the patient to the hospital when Randy was driving, because I knew he would always get us there safely.
In the early days, when we had less than 60 members, every volunteer had a nickname. We all called Randy “No Hips Pugh,” because he often had a hard time keeping his rescue squad pants pulled up.
In 1975, Randy and I joined the Crash Truck Team, responding to accidents with people trapped in wreckage. In the early 80s, we were Crash Truck Supervisors together, co-managing the calls. Randy focused on removing wreckage from around the patients while I focused on patient treatment – we were a great team.
Randy was a craftsman and loved tools, big and small; he would use his skills to take cars apart, piece-by-piece, never causing additional harm to patients.
Following a brief leave of absence in the late 1980s, we both rejoined VBVRS in the early 90s. We went through the basic EMT course together, this time training as partners.
I’m sure we ran hundreds of duties as partners, and we often staffed ambulances together at special events at the oceanfront. He continued to run duties into this year.
Randy was a storyteller. He could talk your ears off about the calls he ran and the people he knew. He was very passionate about Rescue Station 14 and its volunteers, and he loved serving on the VBRS Foundation Board. He was often in a tux at events, and he always wore a smile – unless you weren’t talking nice about EMS.
Randy was my friend and duty partner, and I miss him every day.