Vernon C."Babs" Oakes (1895-1939), a fabulous volunteer. For over two decades of his life was devoted to saving the lives of others. He attained the status of an authority on the first aid. He inspired others to involve themselves as volunteers,taught them high standards of performance, and insisted they be given the finest equipment available with which to exercise the skills they learned. In high office his integrity, industry and leadership commanded the respect of the community he served. His devotion to the cause he loved won the hearts of all those whose lives he touched.
Lest we forget- Oil painting of Vernon C. Oakes presented to the Washington Fire Department at the fire chief's dinner in January 1980. Former Mayor Slesina Quick, of Hackettstown, was commissioned by former Mayor and Mrs. Alvin Sloan to create the portrait.
Alvin Sloan, a former mayor of the borough, has done his share of public service, but has never been a member of the Washington Emergency Squad. That hasn't stopped him from serving as one of the squad's greatest boosters. "When 30 people answer 1,340 rescue squad calls a year, they shouldn't have to stand out in the road to collect money," Sloan said. "I figure people like me that don't answer the calls should take care of the money." But Sloan did more than figure. He started the Vernon Oakes Society, a coalition of contributors named after the squad's founder. The society turned over $20,000 in donation to the squad in 1985.
*The Express, January 28, 1985
The Washington Emergency Squad was founded in 1936 by Vernon C. "Bab" Oakes. It was first started as a "first-aid group" made up of 6 firemen. "Babs" and his men raised money to buy needed equipment such as a stretchers, blankets, inhalator, leg splints, floodlights, and some medical and first-aid supplies.

On June 24, 1936, squad membership was increased to twelve (12) men. (*See picture above). No longer restricted to fire calls, this well manned and equipped rescue organization became known as the Washington Fire Department First Aid and Rescue Squad. It was available to the public for all types of emergency services. By the end of 1936, the squad had answered five (5) calls. Presently, the members of the Washington Emergency Squad run over 1700 calls a year.On December 10, 1937, the people of Washington received a magnificent present when the Washington Emergency Squad presented the new truck to the borough as a Christmas gift. The occasion was a celebration program sponsored by the Washington Booster Club. It took place on Belvidere Ave. where the C.W.Y.A. Community Center building now stands. The vehicle was wrapped in cellophane with a huge red ribbon tied around it. Its glistening white paint made an impressive sight sparkling under the street lights.
*"Your Fabulous Volunteers" by Richard E. Harpster

Retired Units