After more than 50 years, the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad has a home of its own.
"We have a place that we can put a sign out in front that has our name on it, which we've never been able to have before," said squad chief Brandon Peavy. "And we have something the public can relate to now, and I guess reference us to.
"It's really nice to have a place like that, that we can call home."
Harrisonburg mayor Joe Fitzgerald dedicated the new building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony using, appropriately enough, the Jaws of Life.
"I think it's a great building," said Fitzgerald. "I think it's going to last a long time, I think it's going to help attract new squad members, I think it's going to more than pay off in the number of members it attracts to the squad and the quality of members it invites."
The squad had spend the last 20 years sharing space with Harrisonburg Fire Station No. 1.
"The ambulances were sitting literally six inches from each other. You couldn't even walk between the ambulances at the old station," said Peavy. "Now you can drive another car between the two."
The squad now has more than three times the space to park its 11 emergency vehicles. But with the added space comes added responsibility.
"We have a very large place here that has to be cleaned, the grass has to be mowed, things like that that we were able to share with the fire department before, share those jobs, that we're now having to take on on our own," Peavy explained.
But the Rescue Squad did not have to pay for the building on its own. The city contributed $1.5 million for construction. And that was a huge help to the all-volunteer squad, which operates entirely on donations.
"That worked out very well," said Peavy. "In fact, we would not be able to do that if the city of Harrisonburg were not able to help us out as they did."