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Historical marker highlights Hunton Lifesaving Crew

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 8:08 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A chapter of Roanoke history with national significance is receiving fresh attention.

Monday, the city unveiled a new Virginia historical marker highlighting the Hunton Lifesaving and First Aid Crew.

Established in 1941, the volunteer squad responded to medical emergencies for more than 40 years.

Former Roanoke Mayor and local historian Nelson Harris conducted research and wrote the application for the marker.

“This is a remarkable story about the Hunton Lifesaving Crew, believed to be the first all African-American volunteer rescue squad in the United States,” Harris told WDBJ7.

Former Hunton Lifesaving Crew Member Leslie Dunnaville also attended the ceremony, and helped to unveil the marker.

“It makes me happy," Dunnaville said, "because it recognizes that we as members of the Lifesaving Crew back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, that we did something good for the community.”

The marker was approved by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.

The Roanoke Lifesaving and First Aid Crew got its start in 1928, and was the first volunteer rescue squad in the country. A marker detailing its history will be dedicated next week.

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