Nation’s first all-Black volunteer rescue squad honored in Roanoke

Roanoke makes history thanks to a group of Black heroes

ROANOKE, Va. – On Monday, Roanoke leaders unveiled a historical marker recognizing the Hunton Life Saving and First Aid Crew.

The group was organized on December 21, 1941, by Alexander A. Terrell and was the first all-Black volunteer rescue squad in the United States.

The crew, which was stationed at 28 Wells Avenue NW in Roanoke, but suspected operations in July 1987 because there were not enough volunteers.

Leslie Dunnaville, who volunteered with the group, attended the unveiling and said it is an honor to have served with the rescue squad and see the marker erected.

“It was amazing to me,” said Dunnaville. "I’m glad that I had a chance to be a part of it and to serve on it and to be recognized today for this magnificent work that we did in the community.”

Rev. Nelson Harris conducted the research and made the application that resulted in the marker.

The marker was funded by the Carilion Clinic Foundation.

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