The Arnold Volunteer Fire Department has provided Fire and Rescue services for the Sandhills Open Road Challenge for 20 years. Four members of the department have been there from the beginning and have provided EMS services all 20 years. Those dedicated members are: EMT Tammy Weinman, EMT/Firefighter Tom Dennis, EMT Susan Nelson, and EMR/Firefighter Dell Cerny. These members have many fond memories over the years.
Susan Nelson said, “The people and the adrenaline rush you get from the roar of the cars are my favorite part of SORC. I love how the drivers support the local kids and community!”
Dell Cerny remembers the year of 2001 the most. The highlight for him was helping with the car show. “Every year is different. What stands out to me is how the racers handle themselves in such a professional manner,” said Dell.
Tom Dennis stated, “I remember one of the wrecks and being nervous about cutting the car apart. The helicopter landed on the road and the patient was flown out to the hospital. It was good to look back and see how well things went.” Tom also enjoys getting to know the drivers.
Tammy Weinman remembers all of the challenges. “There have been several wrecks over the years. Extrication is always a challenge with the different cars,” she said. “All of the EMS providers work well together and do a great job at providing support for the race. One of the best improvements has been adding Priority Medical Transport – an ALS ambulance service – to the race. Life net also tries to be available if they are not on another flight. One of my favorite things about SORC is developing friendships with other EMS providers and the drivers. Lasting friendships have been formed.”
When SORC first started, the department soon realized it didn’t have all of the equipment it really needed to provide the best care during SORC. Over the years SORC and the Winter Party have provided needed equipment such as helping pay for a 12 Lead, bunker gear, air splints, a command vehicle, a doppler, pulse oximeters, TNT Extrication Rescue Tools, a ranger, a gator with trailer, a skid unit, K12 Rescue Saw, a thermal imaging camera and SCBA. The AVFD has received an estimated $158,000 or more in monetary donations and equipment. The department is very grateful to all who have made these donations possible.
“I remember being at the Winter Party one year when they were raising money for a 12 Lead. I remember getting emotional seeing how much the racers care enough about our community that they would raise thousands of dollars to help us get equipment that can help save someone’s life in our community. Our department and community have been so blessed over the years because of SORC and everyone that has made SORC what it is today,” said Tammy.
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