Raymond Therien was aiding a patient when his ambulance collided with a car in 1960
The first and only member of Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad to be killed in the line of duty is being honored along a newly improved section of Horsepen Road.
At an event today celebrating the completion of the $1.8 million project, Tuckahoe District Supervisor Patricia S. O’Bannon announced that Horsepen between Patterson Avenue and Three Chopt Road will be recognized as the Honorary Raymond H. Therien Way. Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad (TVRS), established in 1953, is located along the stretch, at 1101 Horsepen.
“As motorists travel through this area and notice the signs, I hope they will slow down and take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by Mr. Therien and other volunteers of the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad,” O’Bannon said. “For 70 years and counting, Henrico County has been and is safer and healthier because of the devoted, highly skilled men and woman who are willing to serve.”
O’Bannon and TVRS President Eric Dement closed the ceremony by removing a black cover to unveil one of the street signs that honor the late Raymond H. Therien.
Therien, a 49-year-old charter member of TVRS, died Jan. 15, 1960, when the ambulance he was riding in collided with a car, spun and struck a utility pole, according to a Jan. 16, 1960, article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. At the time, Mr. Therien was administering oxygen to a patient who was being transported to Richmond Memorial Hospital. The patient, identified as Ernestine Crews, also was killed.
“When we found out what happened, we just couldn’t believe it,” TVRS member Richard Cloe recalled.
Cloe, who joined TVRS in 1957 as a student at the University of Richmond, remembered Mr. Therien as a mostly serious, devoted member whose job required him to work at night, which allowed him to volunteer for the rescue squad during the day.
“He was a very dedicated member of the squad … well trained. … He was like an older brother, I guess,” Cloe said. “It came as a shock [when we learned] what happened to him.”
Dement credited TVRS member Earl Williams, a retired captain with the Henrico Sheriff’s Office, with the idea of naming Horsepen in honor of Mr. Therien, and he thanked Henrico officials for their enthusiastic support.
“Raymond [was] like many thousands of volunteers that have selflessly served the citizens of the county and graced the doors of the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad,” Dement said. “None expected payment for their services, but all accepted all of the risks. That has a lot to do with what made EMS what it is in the county today.”
County Manager John A. Vithoulkas described TVRS as an essential partner to Henrico and a complement to its Police and Fire divisions. TVRS remains an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that responds to emergency medical calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Consider, if you will, the tremendous value that an organization like Tuckahoe brings to our community,” Vithoulkas said. “Think of the millions of taxpayer dollars that are saved and have been saved since 1953 because the rescue squad’s volunteers are willing to answer the call for service every single day.”
The recent improvements (video) extended Horsepen’s right turn lane at its intersection with Three Chopt and realigned a section of Normandy Drive approaching Horsepen. The project also created additional parking and access improvements for TVRS, installed a guardrail to improve safety and extended a public utilities access road south of the building.
“This busy stretch is now safer and more efficient for motorists but also better for the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad,” Vithoulkas said. “The improvements we’ve made will protect the volunteers and allow them to respond even more quickly to emergencies in the community.”