VanHuss serves community through Rescue Squad

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Editor’s Note: As a way of honoring our local first responders for their service and dedication, the Elizabethton Star is starting a series of profile stories to introduce these heroes to the community.


For Chris VanHuss, a career in the medical field always seemed like a natural fit.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Even in high school I gravitated toward the sciences,” VanHuss said.

In addition to his studies at school, VanHuss also found inspiration at home from his mother, who was as a nurse.

After graduating from Elizabethton High School in 1991, VanHuss began studying physical therapy before moving over to the nursing program.

“I’ve always leaned toward the medical professions,” he said.

While he enjoyed nursing, VanHuss felt like working in a hospital was not where he needed to be.

At the end of the football season during his senior year, VanHuss had taken a job working at a convenience store in the Central Community. He continued working there after high school while he continued his education.

One of his regular customers worked for the Carter County Rescue Squad and through their conversations, VanHuss decided to give emergency medicine a chance.

“It seemed kind of exciting and interesting,” he said.

In 1993, at the age of 20, VanHuss began volunteering with the Rescue Squad, and decided he wanted to pursue a career there. At that time, volunteers who wanted to be hired as employees had to be “voted in” by the Rescue Squad’s Board of Directors. In 1994 the Board voted VanHuss in and he became a full-time employee in 1995.

“This is one of only two jobs I’ve ever had, this and the store,” VanHuss said.

He began working with the Rescue Squad as an EMT-IV tech. He later continued his education and became a certified paramedic. In 2001, VanHuss was promoted to a shift captain and he still serves in that role today.

Over the years, the Carter County Rescue Squad has changed significantly. When the organization formed in the 1950s it was an all-volunteer group that responded to rescues.

“We came from a volunteer Rescue Squad. That’s our origin,” VanHuss said. “Now we are a professional EMS service.”

“We are licensed, skilled medical professionals who can do a lot of the same things as an emergency room,” he continued.

One of the things VanHuss most enjoys about his job is the variety of calls the crews are called to respond to and assist people.

“You do a lot of the same things over, but there is always something different,” he said. “It’s mentally challenging and mentally stimulating. You never know what the next call will be.”

The job can also be stressful, and to unwind VanHuss enjoys spending time with his wife and their two children. He attends his son’s football games and daughter’s basketball games.

VanHuss also enjoys fishing and working out. He also participates in Tough Mudder events, which are 10-12 mile long mud and obstacle courses designed to test strength, stamina and fortitude.