Couple Has Combined 103 Years of Rescue Squad Experience
Time have changed since they joined the squad, couple notes.
Being a member of a first aid squad has changed since Mary Parr joined the squad in 1960.
She’s still active on the Milton First Aid Squad, but her husband, Clarence, who joined in 1959, went to life member status, meaning he goes to meetings and drills, but doesn’t go out on the rig.
“Training was much better then,” she said, “before the government got so involved. We used the American Red Cross White Book. The new books are more complicated and there are state mandates with no money to pay for them. Training used to be fun. Now there is not much time for the hands-on.”
Some of the changes, however, are for the better.
“When I started, we used the back press for CPR. They developed better techniques and now are starting just to use chest compression.”
She added the squad still uses breathing techniques until they are training in the newer methods.
Parr ran courses at the squad building from September through December every year for 25 years and still does the “ReadyMan” training for the Boy Scouts when she’s needed.
There have been some exciting times on the squad. Parr delivered a baby in the ambulance in 1969. Her husband was driving when a crew he was with delivered another baby.
“There are a lot of memories,” she said. “You always remember the tragic ends.”
One that stands our in her mind involved the three-year-old son of the owners of the former Longwood Casino on Berkshire Valley Road. He wandered onto the back of the property and the lid of an old cistern collapsed. Parr and another squad member tried to revive him, but he drowned.
Today it is harder to find out what happens to the people the squad rescues because of the health privacy rules, Parr noted, although in a small town the squad members likely know someone who knows the victim.
The squad must take trauma cases to Morristown Memorial Hospital. They take other cases to Chilton Memorial, Saint Clare’s Dover and Denville or Newton. If an accident is critical, they call the Medevac helicopter if the weather is suitable for flying.
“During rush hour, we’d never get to Morristown on the roads,” she noted.
Parr and her husband moved to the Milton section of Jefferson Township in 1954. She worked in a pharmacy and was a substitute teacher for seven years to put herself through school. After substituting in Jefferson, she taught for 25 years in Franklin, first and third grade self-contained classrooms and fifth and sixth grade social studies. When she ended up with seventh and eighth graders she decided it was time to retire.
Her husband worked as a production supervisor.
The Parrs have three daughters. The eldest lives in Sedona, AZ. The second, a third grade teacher, lives in Boonton and has three children, the youngest lives in Jefferson and is a mental health supervisor in Newton.
Her middle daughter has three children as well. One is doing her residency in psychiatry at Dartmouth, the second is a graduate student and assistant lacrosse coach at St. Peter’s and the third is in graduate school at George Washington University. Her youngest daughter has a 3 ½-year old son “who is independent and stubborn."