St. John Rescue becomes the official training center of the RCAF | News

St. John Rescue has a lot of good news to report. At the top of the list, members of the organization voted last week to become an official American Red Cross training center.

The nonprofit is already a training center of the American Health and Safety Institute, and the addition of the Red Cross designation will help Rescue expand its operations.

A new fundraising opportunity can help St. John Rescue purchase oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and a new oxygen generator. St. John’s plumber Tom McQuade donated about $25,000 of his hand-tied fishing flies in hopes that Rescue could sell them and benefit from the profits.

Although McQuade said the flies are intended for catching tarpon and game fish, they are displayed in framed cases and could be displayed as works of art. The fly maker was inspired to make the donation after St. John Rescue helped him in his time of need.

“He helped me,” McQuade said of St. John Rescue president Bob Malacarne. “He’s a fantastic person. I thought I’d give something to help Bob benefit the island.

McQuade donated about 50 framed boxes of fishing flies, which he made using chicken feathers and other materials.

New oxygen supplies could help St. John Rescue better facilitate its production and distribution of oxygen, Malacarne said.

Rescue fills oxygen tanks for the VI Fire Service and VI National Park, and will soon be supplying oxygen to the VI Police Department as well. The organization’s current oxygen generator is nearly a decade old, a new one will allow volunteers to fill oxygen tanks faster.

Malacarne said he would also like to acquire about 10 portable oxygen concentrators, which would allow patients with COPD and other illnesses requiring supplemental oxygen to move around more freely for doctor’s appointments or even trips to the beach.

Another generous pledge launched St. John Rescue’s quest for a new vehicle. Tropical Properties owner Roger Harland donated $25,000 toward the purchase of a 2022 Tahoe special service vehicle, priced at $75,000.

“The Ford we have right now is a 2006, and it’s the newest vehicle we have,” Malacarne said. “The 2022 Tahoe is really tough, ideal for our roads.”

Like many other companies and organizations around the world, St. John Rescue has been hampered by supply chain issues. The organization has 14 AEDs that it would like to distribute to St. John’s Churches and the VIPD, but the electrodes and batteries are outdated. Although AEDs are still functional, they cannot be used in an emergency due to potential liability issues.

St. John Rescue vehicles have working, unexpired AEDs for use in emergencies, but Malacarne said he wishes there was better distribution of the devices across the island. The organization continues to research options for sourcing needed new parts.

On a lighter note, a volunteer worked to beautify the Gifft Hill headquarters of St. John Rescue.

“David Queeley graciously offered to build a rock wall that surrounds the front garden, and a similar one in front of our electrical monument,” Malacarne said. “The guy is amazing. He gives of his time and I would like to thank David for his efforts on our behalf.

Malacarne reminded residents of the valuable services provided by St. John Rescue. When paramedics are busy transporting a patient to St. Thomas, Rescue volunteers respond to reported incidents and work hand-in-hand with VIPD, VIFS, and EMS personnel.

When crews were battling the Grunwald apartment fire, St. John Rescue responded to an assault in the village of Wharfside, and Rescue volunteers recently hiked the Reef Bay Trail to help lift an injured woman on a VINP boat for treatment.

“The VIPD says they love it when we’re on the scene because we’re doing what we have to do and we don’t get in the way,” Malacarne said. “I am so proud of the fact that we are the CPR gurus on the island. Our members train again and again. We are part of the community and we want to make sure everyone knows who we are, what we do and that we are there for them.

To inquire about purchasing McQuade fishing flies, to donate for oxygen supply or a new vehicle, or to arrange first aid or CPR training for your business or organization, call 340-693- 7377. To donate online or to learn more about St. John Rescue membership, visit

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