At the Virginia Association of Volunteer Rescue Squads (VAVRS) 79th convention in Virginia Beach, it was announced that J. Carlton Hudson of the Colonial Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad is the oldest active life member of VAVRS. He was elected to be in the Virginia Life Saving and Rescue Hall of Fame.
“I was happy to get that. I didn’t have any idea. My biggest prize right there,” Hudson said of the award.
Born and raised in King George, Hudson traveled to the Colonial Beach gym, also known as the Cracker Box, for a basketball game. It was at this game that he saw a girl and purposely missed catching a ball so that it would land near her giving him the chance to speak to her and said, “I don’t know what your name is or where you live, but I want to take you out Saturday night.” The girl (Annie Laura Costenbader) agreed to go out with him that Saturday in 1947 and in 1948 they were married and built themselves a house here in Westmoreland County.
Hudson spoke of all the many jobs he held over the years, chuckling that in most all of them he’d driven a truck. “All my life doing nothing but driving trucks.”
At one time, Hudson was a driver for Life Care ambulance service in Fredericksburg. He said his best run was when he went to pick up someone in a wheel chair at Mary Washington Hospital only to find out he had to drive her all the way to Delaware. He laughed when he explained how the persistent lady insisted on sitting in the front seat, telling him the way to go, and treating him to a huge seafood platter dinner.
While this is a run Hudson remembers fondly, most people know Hudson for his first Colonial Beach run years ago, before the squad was established. Hudson explained that while he and others were at a local hangout in town, a man fell off the roof of his house and fractured his leg. With the closest rescue squad nearly 35 miles away, Hudson and a few others borrowed a truck and carried the man to the old Mary Washington Hospital, using their resources to splint and secure the injured man.