Robert L. Dunlap, Charter Member
Charleston County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad
Robert Leon Dunlap was born on Sept. 18, 1930, and raised in Charleston - attending Midland Park Elementary and North Charleston high schools.
In 1951, while employed by Ships Service on the Charleston Naval Base, he was drafted by the U.S. Army and served the 3rd Infantry Division, 19th Quartermasters Battalion and the 23rd Group in Korea. He was honorably discharged in 1953.
After his tour with the military, Dunlap worked as the manager of the Navy Exchange on the Mine Craft Base in Charleston until he began his civil service career with the Charleston Shipyard as a miscellaneous duplicating equipment operator.
At the Shipyard, he advanced through various jobs and departments until his retirement as general foreman material handling. During his 39-year career, Dunlap received the Naval Supply Center Employee of the Year award (1967), Supervisor of the Quarter award (1983), 12 Sustained Superior Performance awards, 79 letters of appreciation and 85 of his Beneficial Suggestions were adopted. In addition, he was awarded the Navy's Meritorious Civilian Award upon his retirement.
While Dunlap's career was challenging, he also maintained an active role in the community. He is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5091 and served as Post Commander from 1959-60. He also served as an active volunteer fireman for the city of North Charleston, often working during paid members' shifts to allow them time off. When the city discontinued the use of volunteers, Dunlap and six other men felt strongly about the need for volunteers in the community who could extricate victims trapped in automobile accidents, search for lost persons and overdue boaters, and recover drowned victims.
Dunlap and his six comrades petitioned the state legislators for a Certificate of Incorporation, which was granted in October 1962 founding the North Charleston Volunteer Rescue Association. In 1973 the organization's name was changed to the Charleston County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, Inc., to better reflect the community served.
In recognition for his dedication to his community and the Rescue Squad, he was honored with the Order of the Palmetto in 1998. In addition, the West Ashley Optimist Club recognized him as the Squad Member of the Year in 1989.
Dunlap is a very patriotic man who has served as an institutional representative and advisor to Boy Scout Troop 475 and as chairman of the Advancement Committee of the North Charleston District, Boy Scouts of America. He has worked with the Civil Defense and has donated over five gallons of blood to the American Red Cross. He is a member of Chicora Lodge #366, A.F.M. and a member of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church. He is also a lifetime member of the National Fire Protection Association.
Dunlap and his wife of 41 years, Gloria Massalon Dunlap, reside in West Ashley. Their son, Robert Jr., is a paramedic with Charleston County Emergency Services.