Brief History: Swamp Fox Boat
and Rescue Squad
known as the Swamp Fox Boat Club, a nonprofit organization established in
1964, the founding members, under the leadership of Danny Bell, organized a
water rescue and ambulance service for the lower east end of Orangeburg
county and adjoining area of Lake Marion. At first members monitored CB
radios from their homes or businesses for boaters in trouble, answered
search, rescue and recovery calls as well as calls for ambulance service 24
hours a day. Personal boats were used to answer calls on the water. Some
calls ended with a happy rescue while others ended with a sad recovery
effort. Members took first aid classes at Bell’s restaurant and some members
drove the ambulance while others administered first aid or gave comfort to
those being transported in the ambulance.
first ambulance was donated by E. A. Crout, Ford Dealer in Holly Hill. To
fund the ambulance and rescue effort the group sponsored boat races in
cooperation with Rut Connor, a founding member, at Rocks Pond Campground.
Many hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, Mama Billy’s BBQ and cold drinks
were sold from the “handi house” at the races. Christmas and New Year’s
dances were also sponsored to fund the squad efforts to provide service to
group, whole families with children and parents, took yearly boat trips with
families paying their way and traveling by boat or going part way in a
caravan pulling boats, then launching the boats with luggage and picnic
baskets included. Some trips were to Cedar Key, off the Florida coast,
Daytona Beach, Stuart and Silver Springs, Florida, Tennessee Valley
Authority Lakes in Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Wrightsville
Beach, North Carolina. Those were the days! One member boat would lead the
way with a partner reading the charts as the boats traveled along. Break
downs were common on the road as well as the water. All would stop and help.
Everything was a cooperative effort. In recent years there have been one or
two short trips planned one trip to Charleston on the weekend after Labor
Day, the other trip during the spring or summer. This year we have 3-4 short
trips with members taking the leadership of each outing.
the area volunteer Ambulance Service was formed the ambulance was donated to
this effort and was stationed in Eutawville. Later an Orangeburg county-wide
service was established with EMS units in strategic areas of the county.
In 2004, the club submitted a proposal through the SC Legislature and the
Department of Transportation to designate a portion of highway # 6 as the
Danny Bell Memorial Highway. Following a program and reception the family
unveiled the signs at the beginning and end of the designated portion of
highway # 6.
the years the organization has changed from meeting at Bell’s restaurant or
the “Clubhouse” at Bell’s Winter Park to meeting in homes and now to meeting
at Chef’s Choice most of the time. From being a rescue-ambulance service to
being a nonprofit organization, donating grants to area charities. From 18
families in the beginning, 40 families a few years ago and now about 60
families are involved.
club meets on the last Monday of each month except for the months of
December and May. Yearly dues of $20.00/family and $10.00/individual pay for
the regular business and meeting expenses during the year. Members may
invite guests one time for possible membership and they are voted into the
club after an application is filled out and turned in to the officers.
Officers are the president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer and board
consisting of all past presidents. Committees and officers carry out the
duties/activities of the club with the Boat Poker Run committee carrying out
plans associated with the annual poker run.
club participates in the “River Sweep”, picking up trash on one of the area
islands and is responsible for picking up trash from an area of Hwy # 6.
2006, after the 11th Poker Run, the Swamp Fox Boat Club awarded
seven grants of $1,500.00 each to First Responders in three local fire
departments and area charities. In 2007, the 12th Annual Charity
Boat Poker Run was again held on the Saturday before Memorial Day. Over 700
tickets were sold and the grants were $1,800.00 each. Since 1993 the club
has awarded $99,348.53 which included the purchase of a defibrillator for
Eutawville First Responders. This year, 2012, the 17th year for
the poker run, the club has awarding $9,000.00 in grants, bringing the total
given during this time to $108, 348.53.