In 1948, three young children were swimming
on the banks of the Mississippi River, in what is now called the
Alton Pool. During their activity, the three children
disappeared, and later found, drown in the Mississippi River.
The community was horrified of the drowning; where upon, several
men in the community formed a group to respond to people in
distress on the Mississippi River.
As time progressed, the organization
expanded and helps people in distress on area lakes, ponds,
creeks, as well as the Mississippi River. In the mid-1960ís,
AVEC was called upon to supply ambulance service when local
providers decided to end their services. Until the hospitals
began supplying service, AVEC was the only ambulance provider.
After the hospitals took control of the
ambulance service, AVEC was downgraded, and no longer provided
the 1990ís, AVEC suffered a loss of manpower and financial
donations. In 1998, AVEC had dwindled down to only six members,
although they still provided water rescue and recovery. In late
1998, AVEC began a public recruiting drive and by the end of
1999, their membership had grown to nearly 20 men and women. As
new members joined, training began immediately for them to learn
how to operate boats, drive vehicles, and proper code of ethics
expected of the corps.
As the world entered the 21st
century with technical requirements, so did AVEC. The corps had
to keep up with society and keep communications and services up
to date. New paging service provided alphanumeric messages to
all members for emergencies. New radios had to be purchased to
keep in contact during searches on the river, as well as driving
to the scenes.
AVEC re-entered the medical world by
adding 3 EMTs. Also, 12 members of the corps were trained
and certified as First Responders. Although AVEC does not
provide ambulance service, they are first responders to scenes
until the ambulance and fire departments arrive.
Training with the local emergency
management agency began for haz-mat. In the event a hazardous
material spill occurs, AVEC has been trained in procedures, and
will be called upon if required.
has expanded its role in the community by providing ground
search and rescue along with their normal water search and
rescue. A donated RV allowed members to convert it to a mobile
command center with radios, computers, and working area to use
at the scene of disaster. Additionally, AVEC now works in
conjunction with the Madison County Emergency Management Agency
and the Illinois Management Agency. AVEC has expanded its
coverage to include a 100-mile radius of the St. Louis