St. John Rescue marked its 25th anniversary Monday, and the nonprofit organization will celebrate from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 9 at the St. John Rescue headquarters on Gifft Hill. The event will be catered by Shaibu, and everyone is welcome to see the new headquarters and to chat with the volunteers.

St. John Rescue was founded in 1996 when a group of concerned residents gathered together to form a life-saving rescue squad.

Chicky Morsiglio was the driving force that got the organization going. And, with dedication and hard work by Bruce Fagan, Valerie and Walt Trilhaase, Janice Bauer, Elmo Rabsatt, Darrell Tasman, Godwin Sprauve and Lindy Tatreau, St. John Rescue was born and has been thriving ever since. More than 100 volunteers have worked with St. John Rescue over the years.

“It is with their volunteer efforts that this organization has grown into a dynamic, life-saving rescue squad,” said board president Bob Malacarne.

Representatives of the nonprofit organization meet monthly with community members, civic organizations, churches, government representatives and the V.I. Police Department for informal discussions on making life on St. John more pleasant. Comment cards have been placed at the Cruz Bay ferry dock by the group, and helpful comments are often shared by travelers as they leave island. The group also sponsors events that focus on youth like bicycle safety events, a summer youth program and police officer appreciation events.

Everyone is welcome to attend the group’s monthly meetings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at St. John Rescue headquarters.

Malacarne shared that there were few rescue calls in October and November, and reported that St. John Rescue’s CPR and first aid classes have resumed with an emphasis on blended learning — a combination of online classes and in-person practical skills testing.

“The people who have taken these classes are quite pleased with the ability to take the online part at their leisure at home,” said Malacarne. “This system is a great way of limiting person-to-person contact. The practical testing is limited to six students and each student is spaced at least six feet from other students. As long as COVID-19 is a factor, we will continue with this system.”

Several church groups and businesspeople have taken the CPR course, and police officers who serve St. John are scheduled to take the CPR course, Malacarne said. Once the officers complete the course and testing, St. John Rescue will give the department automated external defibrillators that officers can carry with them on patrol.

“This will greatly increase a person’s chance of surviving a heart attack since the police travel the island constantly,” said Malacarne.

To learn CPR or first aid, contact St. John Rescue Executive Director Kris Robinson at 340-693-7377.

Malacarne concluded his communication with a health tip.

“If you encounter someone experiencing a diabetic issue, try to get as much information from them as possible regarding their current situation including information from a medic alert device,” he said. “If the person is conscious and alert, they may need sugar, so offering them a soda or preferably some fruit juice could greatly assist them. Do not give anyone who is not alert anything to eat or drink as this may cause choking. If in doubt, always call 911, or 340-776-9110 from a cell phone.”

For more information about St. John Rescue, visit stjrescue.org.