The King County Council issued a Proclamation on Monday, announcing October 5-11, 2015 as Search and Rescue Volunteer Recognition Week.
Do you know someone you can thank? I do.
Living in the Snoqualmie Valley, it’s common to see helicopters flying overhead andSAR vehicles near trailheads. But do you realize it is volunteers who do the hard work – find missing hikers lost deep in the woods or shimmy down hoist ropes on steep mountainsides?
The King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and The King County Search and Rescue Association (KCSARA) have had a long-term partnership spanning decades. KCSARA currently has approximately 500 trained volunteers that respond to missions in King County and outside areas when needed.
These volunteers work under the direction of the Sheriff’s Office, which has one full-time Search and Rescue deputy and small group of deputies on call to assist in coordinating SAR volunteers.
KSCARA is made up of 8 different units which include King County 4×4 Search and Rescue, King County Search Dogs, King County Explorer Search and Rescue, Seattle Mountain Rescue, SAR Incident Support Team, NW Horseback Search and Rescue, Pacific Northwest Trackers, and Ski Patrol Rescue Team.
North Bend Resident Logs Most SAR Hours
This week North Bend resident, business owner and King County 4×4 SAR volunteer, Alan LsBissoniere, was honored by the King County Council and KCSO as the Top Responder – logging the most SAR volunteer hours.
So far in 2015 Alan has put in 936 volunteer hours training and helping find those who have lost their way – and that’s just includes his work with King County’s 4×4 search unit.
Alan also is president of Regional Vehicle Special Unit (RSVU), an ATV vehicle unit he founded two years ago, which volunteers through the Office of Emergency Management.
Alan responds to every SAR call he gets and trains ALOT – all while working full-time and owning his own pest control company, Frontier Pest Control. When asked how he can do it all, Alan responded, “Very carefully, time management.”
What Alan and other SAR volunteers do is important and priceless work – and very appreciated by those they help. In 2014, KCSARA volunteers responded to 134 missions totaling over 18,000 mission hours. Volunteers also spent over 52,000 hours training for missions.
KCSARA President Glenn Wallace explained, “This is nearly three times the amount of hours we spent on missions. ‘Volunteer ‘doesn’t mean amateur. Our volunteers are highly trained at what they do.”
KCSARA is a non-profit organization. They obtain some equipment from donations, but most equipment is purchased by the individual volunteer.
Members say imagine if those 18,000 mission hours last year had to be paid for by the taxpayers. KCSARA organizers are proud of the valuable service they provide – not only to those they search for, but for the citizens of King County.
Other Top SAR Responders honored by King County include:
- Lorance, Nathan
- Bowers, Jerry
- White, Courtney
- Gilson, Mathew
- Goss, Keith
- Tran, Peter
- Black, Chris
- Feilen, Christopher
- Hitchner, Joan
Thank you King County Search and Rescue – and congratulation Alan!