Chris Eyestone, a sophomore from Blacksburg, has been named chief of the Virginia Tech Rescue Squad.

Eyestone and eight new officers were elected to one-year terms by the rescue squad’s all-student membership and sworn-in on April 18. They will manage daily operations, including emergency response, staffing, equipment, communications, and training.

Being part of a rescue squad wasn’t always a goal for Eyestone, who is majoring in agribusiness. In high school he was more focused on academics and operating his own landscaping business, and as a freshman at Virginia Tech he had other priorities. That changed after he saw a presentation about the rescue squad and was inspired by their commitment to Ut Prosim (That I may serve).

“The rescue squad is a very unique group. We spend so much time together we become family. Virginia Tech has been part of my life for so long, I just wanted to give back,” said Eyestone, who grew up in Blacksburg and whose father Will Eyestone is a research assistant professor of reproductive physiology and biotechnology in the Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Eyestone’s goal is to continue efforts to improve the squad’s capabilities, training and professionalism. The squad currently has around 50 students who volunteer their time on top of their academic studies and other activities.  

“As the university grows we will certainly be an important part of that. We expect more demand for our services,” said Eyestone.

Upgrading the squad’s technology is another goal. They recently purchased new heart monitors and are currently planning the potential future purchase of an additional ambulance.

Eyestone wants the university community to get to know the rescue squad. “We’re here to help. Say hello to us around campus and never be worried about calling if you need us,” he said.

In addition to Eyestone, the new rescue squad officers include:

  • Will Meakem, operations captain, a junior from Charlottesville, Virginia, finance;
  • Emma Rouse, administrative captain, a junior from Reston, Virginia, human nutrition, foods and exercise;
  • Priya Ganesh, equipment lieutenant, a junior from Oakton, Virginia, biological sciences;
  • Sarah Higginbotham, personnel lieutenant, a junior from Fairfax, Virginia, human nutrition, foods and exercise;
  • Trenton Oliver, special operations lieutenant, a junior from Stafford, Virginia, international studies;
  • David Camarillo, training lieutenant, a sophomore from Yorktown, Virginia, neuroscience;
  • Aram Hudson, communications lieutenant, a freshman from Falls Church, Virginia, biochemistry;
  • Zac Cadieux, vehicles lieutenant, a sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia, biological sciences.

The Virginia Tech Rescue Squad has served the university community since 1969 and is the oldest collegiate rescue squad in Virginia and the second oldest in the nation. It handles around 1,200 calls per year. 

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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