Betty Kidd to be honored
, 2014

Betty Kidd to be honored as Miss Rescue Squad

Reedville Independence Day Parade organizer Danny Haynie has announced that Betty Kidd will be honored as Miss Rescue Squad this Saturday, July 7, recognizing her 40 years of service in the Northumberland County Volunteer Rescue Squad.

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She will be riding in the annual parade, which begins at 3 p.m., said Haynie.

Kidd was born in Northumberland County on March 2, 1930, to Lloyd and Minnie Beatley.

Kidd seemed destined for a life in medicine as she was plagued by multiple freak accidents resulting in long-term effects, she said. The first was preceded by a childhood case of whooping cough. After Betty lost her breath in a coughing fit, her father reacted by throwing her out of an open window into a snow bank. Kidd caught her breath, but when she spoke she voiced a harsh, stuttering sound. The speech impediment remains to this day, she said.

After graduating from Heathsville High School in 1947, she pursued her childhood dream of becoming a nurse by applying to a registered nursing school in Richmond. The application required Kidd to divulge any handicaps so she honestly admitted her stuttering problem.

“My heart was broken. They said I couldn’t give info on a patient’s condition fast enough if I stuttered,” said Kidd.

Soon after, Kidd was accepted to Sheltering Arms Hospital in Richmond. The hospital worked to improve her speech and on November 8, 1948, Kidd received her licensed practical nurse certificate.

After a few months’ work at Sheltering Arms, Kidd went on to work at the Crippled Children’s Hospital. Kidd then returned to Sheltering Arms where she met an Army sergeant, Kenneth Edward Kidd. They were married on August 6, 1949.

His rank permitted his wife to travel with him, and an overseas stint provided the backdrop for another of Kidd’s freak accidents. While in Austria, the couple rode a cable car to Adolph Hitler’s tea house. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 90s. About three quarters into the trip, however, the wind picked up and it began to snow, she said.

“The cable car started doing everything but turning upside down,” says Kidd.

Amid the rumbling and excitement, Kidd’s ears popped. Nevertheless, the couple reached their destination safely and enjoyed their tea. Upon leaving, Kidd asked her husband if the tea had an odor because she hadn’t smelled a thing.

“To this day I cannot smell a thing,” said Kidd.

After her husband’s death in Vietnam, she returned to Reedville to work for her brother, Gene, as a nurse at Reedville Medical Center. Gene later built the Bay Harbor Medical Center in Burgess where Kidd earned her radiology license.

Kidd realized another calling when her brother asked that the rescue squad be called for a patient. A station wagon with a stretcher came and took the patient to the hospital.

“This hit me like a ton of bricks that this was something I wanted to do as well, but I wasn’t quite ready,” said Kidd.

Kidd joined the Northumberland Rescue Squad on June 9, 1969, after receiving First Aid, CPR, and driver training. Sometime later, after receiving EMT training, Kidd went on her first run to Norfolk Naval Hospital driving with no shield between her and the patient.

“Somehow...I’ll never know how...he relieved himself. The back of my head and shoulder had gotten soaked with urine!” says Kidd.

From then on, Kidd ran calls every Wednesday until August 2009, when she required assistance getting in the back of squad vehicles.

“I miss it. I listen to every call they get until they are back to the building safely,” says Kidd.

Currently, Kidd stays at home enjoying a quiet life making Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.

“If I want, I put clothes on; or I might keep my pj’s on all day. My dolls can’t say, ‘Put your clothes on, Betty,’” said Kidd.

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