Rescue History


ESTABLISHED 1960 – In Service 1961

1960, Spring The Jaycees of Marengo formed a committee to investigate the idea of the Marengo community having an emergency rescue squad. The Jaycees met with Walworth, Wisconsin and Harvard, Illinois rescue squad to gather information. From this information, the Marengo Rescue Squad was formed.

1960, July F.W. Means and Company donated a clean-towel truck to the Marengo Rescue Squad to serve as its first rescue vehicle; the members reworked and altered this truck into the emergency rescue vehicle. This was done at the sight of Arnold Engineering. Materials and equipment for this conversion were donated by Arnold’s. The community donated money and equipment with a few examples; International Associates of Machinists #1832, $200; Moose Lodge, Harvard and Woodstock, $200; and the Marengo Grange, $140. The Marengo V.F.W. purchased an E & J Resuscitator for $683; the American Legion donated monies and the use of the Legion Home for fundraisers. The Lions held $1.25 plate dinner for men’s night; children sold Kool-Aid, and individual donations made up the rest.

  • 60 61 01
  • 60 61 02
  • 60 61 03
  • 60 61 04
  • Charter Members
  • Gordy accepting donation from Lions Club
  • Newspaper Announcement
  • Newspaper Story

1961, July 12 First official day of emergency rescue, the members wore white coveralls and red coats and white hard hats. Ten of the charter members worked at Arnold Engineering and responded to calls during their working day.

At this time, the Marengo Rescue Squad was a member of MARS and Redi Association which was comprised of 16 emergency units throughout the county. The men were independent units under the Police Department. The emergency telephone number for the Marengo Rescue Squad was 568-8333 and was housed at Kelly Bros. Garage, Chevy/Olds Dealership at the corner of Rts. 20 & 23. The Jaycees distributed phone stickers with the emergency phone numbers of the Marengo Rescue Squad, Marengo Police Department, and Marengo Fire Department to the Marengo/Union population. Emergency calls were received and answered by the two funeral homes in Marengo, Cooper Funeral Home and Osborne Funeral Home, and dispatched from these locations. Squad members responded by siren and a conference telephone line which was a solid ring to alert the members of a call and the location of the call. Rescue vehicles and members communicated by CB radio.

1962, September The Marengo Rescue Squad moved into the Marengo City Building at the corner of Rts. 176 & 23, in Marengo.

  • 62 65 01
  • 62 65 02
  • Unit 229
  • Accident Scene

1965, October The Marengo Rescue Squad purchased a new rescue rig from Gertenslager and Co. of Wooster, Ohio. This rig had the capacity to carry 6 stretchers. The vehicle was 11 feet high and was tall enough to allow members to stand up inside of it. A change was made from CB radios to a 100-watt FM radio using the police frequency. A carnival was planned to help pay for the vehicle and the balance was from donations from the community. Ambulances were used from Osborne and Cooper Funeral homes.

1972 Marengo Rescue Squad switched from using station wagon-type ambulances to raised van-type ambulances.

1972 was the start of the Illinois EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). Members attended classes, at the college, for 130 hours of classroom instructions and then attended the hospital for 20 hours of emergency room time. All members had to pass the State of Illinois testing.

  • 72 01
  • Unit 1152

1975 Start of the 911 system.

1976 Start of EMT II (Paramedic) program. Requirements were EMT I plus 500 hours of classroom instructions and State of Illinois testing. With this program came drugs and Life Pack (cardiac monitor). In 1976, Marengo Rescue Squad had 2 ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulances and in 1978, 1 more was added for a total of 3.

1981 Life-Line State Helicopter Service Emergency Transportation was put into service and was housed at St. Anthony Hospital in Rockford.

  • 76 81 01
  • Life Line State Helicopter

1985 Started replacing van-type ambulances with modules; in comparison the 1978 van-type ambulance cost $30,000 and the 1994 modular ambulance cost $94,000 unequipped.

1987 Flight For Life helicopter went into service. It was housed at the McHenry Hospital and was staffed with 1 pilot, 1 flight nurse, and 1 paramedic.

React helicopter went into service. It was housed at Rockford airport and was staffed with 1 pilot, 1 flight nurse, and 1 paramedic.

1990 Bill 1297 of the State of Illinois was put to a community vote in the fall of 1990 and was passed so the Marengo Rescue Squad District could be formed and receive taxing money.

1991 Marengo Rescue Squad District was formed.

1992 First taxing money, in the amount of $176,000, was received in August.

1993, March Start of P.O.P. (Paid on Premises) program. Hours are from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with 1 EMT I and 1 EMT II being stationed at the rescue squad quarters to immediately respond to an emergency call. Until this time, no monies were received by any of the rescue squad members. When not on a call, the P.O.P.'s perform various tasks and vehicle inspections. This program relieved employees from leaving their jobs to respond to a call with the exceptions of automobile accidents (10-50’s), fire calls, back-to-back calls and multiple calls.

Marengo Rescue Squad went from white coveralls to blue. These new coveralls have reflective tape and are made of the fire retardant material.

1998 The building was purchased.

1999 First Mock Prom Crash

2002 P.O.P. was changed to 5:00 am to 10:00 pm. P.O.C. (paid on call) 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. Outside P.O.P’s fill open shifts when needed.

May 2007 The Marengo Rescue Squad District Board of Trustees hired the District’s first full time Chief. They also approved the hiring of a Deputy Chief, Captain, and (2) Lieutenants. These officers’s worked shifts of 24 hours on and 48 hours off.

2008 MRSD applied for and received an AFG grant from FEMA for $146,509 for Personal Protection Gear, (4) 12 lead EKG monitors, and a station Vehicle Exhaust Removal System.

A “Jump Company” was formed with Marengo Fire Protection District utilizing employees from both districts. Employees that are crossed trained can “jump” from Rescue to Fire and from Fire to Rescue if needed to assist on Rescue or Fire calls. This enables each department to have better coverage for all emergencies.

To better serve our community, 24 hour shift personnel were hired. Shifts are the standard Red, Gold and Black working 24 hours on and 48 hours off. The remainder of the openings is covered by POP personnel.

2012 Marengo Rescue Squad District and Marengo Fire Protection District jointly purchased 13 acres on Coral Road, Marengo, for a future station.

Pertinent Information

The Marengo Rescue Squad was established and in service on July 12, 1961.

The Charter Members of the Marengo Rescue Squad were:

Noel Lambert Bill Shielbergen

Denzel Thompson Ronald Davis

John Lockhart Tony Mack

Paul Bower David Nelson

Maynard St. Clair Joseph Havens

Dennis Madaus Gordon Lee

The Marengo Rescue Squad District is approximately 144 square miles, covering the Marengo and Union Fire Department Protection Districts.