PALESTINE - Jim and Carolyn Rush are going to be honored by Tri-Village Rescue from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at its station in New Madison.
The party will focus on the couple, who are retiring from the rescue squad after 30 years of service.
The couple began running rescue in June 1983, after being approached by a couple of squad members at the time, Chris Puterbaugh and Brice Mikesell.
Even though they were at it for three decades, the Rushes never tired of their work with rescue nor did they get burned out.
And, there have been those who have been known to get burned out.
“We’re really lucky if people last three years,” she said. “Seven is a good number.”
Most of the time, the couple ran squad together
“We usually ran every Tuesday night and one weekend a month,” he said. “There was a period of time we were down to eight members, but that built back up.”
“If you’re scheduled to run, it’s hard to go anywhere,” Carolyn said. “The pager system helped a whole lot. We still could to to a baseball game or track meet. It does cut in on family time.”
“And, it takes a lot of time to take the classes,” Jim said. “You revamp and have to take more.”
Carolyn, who went on to become an intermediate/advanced EMT, was eventually able to start IVs and intubate.
When asked their most memorable runs, Carolyn replied, “I have done everything but deliver a baby, but I was close one time. Our CPR runs brought people back.”
Jim’s worst was a vehicle accident west of Palestine.
“It was a car versus a semi,” he said. “The car did not win; the driver died not win. It was a fatality.”
“Fatalities are few and far between,” Carolyn said.
While most squads run with two people today, it used to run with four, and Carolyn preferred that.
“I like a three-man crew; one to drive and two in the back,” she said.
The Rushes spent a lot of hours on squad.
“In this day and age, it is not as much a volunteer organization as it used to be because people are working and don’t take time to do community service,” Jim said.
“When we started, it was all volunteer,” Carolyn pointed out. “We’d get $7 a run, which was like 50 cents an hour.”
Carolyn, daughter of the late Roy Denver and Naomi (Price) Slick, taught for 30 years at Greenville Junior High and four years at Greenville Senior High, retiring in 1999, then she went to work part-time at Edison Community College until last year.
Her retirement from teaching allowed her to run more daytime runs with the squad.
March 12, she underwent a cervical disk replacement and now has a 20-pound weight limit.
“I’m doing really well,” she said. “I think I’ll be having physical therapy till late May.”
The couple, who were married in 1972, have had no children but did bring home a foster son, Ralph Williams, in the mid-80s.
“There were seven couple at the junior high interested in an eighth-grader who needed a foster home,” Carolyn recalled. “I don’t know how it happened. We were last on the list and took him. He was 14. After he graduated, he had a little girl, and so now we babysit for her children, an 8-year-old and a 15-month-old.”
The Rushes graduated together in the class of 1965 from Westmont High School, and were high school sweethearts. Their families even went to church together at Nashville United Methodist. However, after graduation, he went to Miami-Jacobs Business College and the Army and she headed for Otterbein College, and they separated for a time, reuniting when he was discharged from the military.
Jim served in Bangkok, Thailand, in the finance division.
A son of the late Ray and Esther (House) Rush, Jim has also been a member of the Liberty Township Fire Department since 1966. He was fire chief a few years before he retired and then became fire chief again, retiring the second time two years ago. He is still involved however.
This week, they even volunteered to prepare 80 pounds of chicken and other food items for the fire department’s social on Saturday.
“I’m part of the Liberty Belles auxiliary,” Carolyn said. “I am a member of the Nashville United Methodist Women, but I quit most of my stuff. I even belonged to the Darke County Retired Teachers.”
The Rushes had a dairy farm when her father was alive, milking 30 head of Guernseys.
“I was in 4-H for nine years,” Carolyn said. “We sold the dairy after Dad died, and then we raised a few beef cattle.”
In retirement, they plan to continue farming and do more traveling.
“We went to Alaska in 2011, and we try to go to Gatlinburg every year,” she said. “We also go to Frankenmuth, Mich., and visit the Christmas store.”
Yes, they’ll probably be just as busy, and even plan on going on some runs if they are close by and sense a real emergency.
“We’ve enjoyed the 30 years off an on…more on,” she said. “The people we work with are good people…intelligent and hard-working. We train every month.”
“We won’t miss the calls in the middle of the night,” Jim concluded.
Well-wishers are invited to the retirement party for hamburgers, hot dogs and food in celebration of the couple’s retirement.