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For several months, it appeared that Hillsville Rescue Squad's legacy would be one of controversy and ill will, after town officials began questioning the need for its continued existence since it had essentially disbanded.
There were accusations and finger-pointing about funds, personnel issues, inappropriate use of vehicles, the sale of a squad building and equipment. All that negativity threatened to overshadow the good that the volunteer organization had done over the years.
So, it was nice to see that the squad's last official act on March 20 was one of generosity and community spirit.
The squad has not operated for some time, but it still had financial assets to dispose of. In true life-saving fashion, the members wisely chose to give other local non-profits and injection of cash.
The vital signs of 12 organizations — ranging from a homeless shelter and a veterans' group to a fire department, the Humane Society and charities for the needy — are now healthier due to this financial transfer.
It's been a common metaphor to compare Hillsville Rescue Squad's drawn-out demise to a dying person. Following that theme, the agency's decision to give away its holdings is akin to an organ donor saving the lives of others after they pass away.
Using these $3,000 grants, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan will get recognition at the Hillsville VFW, better screening processes will improve vision care, kids will get swimming lessons and a fitness camp, local businesses will be promoted, a historical Hillsville landmark will be brought back to life, firefighters will breathe easier with new air packs, stray animal euthanasia rates will be brought down and the homeless will have an even more homey place to stay.
That's the legacy that the volunteers who put their time and energy into Hillsville Rescue Squad deserve.