VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - When you’re trying to surprise an emergency rescue squad member, you have to move fast.
Tanya Barnes is the President of the Chick's Beach Volunteer Rescue Station No. 4.
Her co-volunteer Katie Cope told us about the tireless work Tanya puts in raising money for the rescue squad.
“We’ve done the Touch-a-Trucks, the Christmas tree lighting, and the Kroger Saturdays where the crew will go out and give public awareness," Katie said.
All were organized and engineered by Tanya to raise money and awareness for the rescue squad.
“So many people who ride with us as patients don’t know that they won’t get a bill for our services," Tanya said.
So, the community events helps them connect and raise money, keeping services free.
“We had a Back-to-School Haircut-a-Thon; it was great! You could come get your hair cut in the fire station. It was awesome!” Tanya told us.
All this and it's hard to believe she has time for a paying job! She’s a teacher at Landstown Middle School who works with kids with special needs.
“I run my duties on Sundays. I find ways after work to fill in my administrative duties here and when you love what you do, it sort of all works out," Tanya explained.
While there are stressful days, Tanya said serving the bigger purpose overrides all the stress.
Of all the things she does to keep the community safe, I asked what touches her heart the most.
“Reaching a patient who may be having a mental health crisis," Tanya replied. "Being able to touch them or talk to them in a way that is sympathetic and compassionate that is one of my most favorite things to do.”
And one of our favorite things to do is to recognize community superstars like Tanya. So, News 3 surprised her with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.
I asked her what she was going to do with the money.
“Ummm... [get] a mani pedi sounds good," she said, which was met with laughter. "Throw a massage in there."
Do you know someone who's worthy of a People Taking Action award? Click here to nominate them!