Monday, September 25, 2006
Steamboat Springs The Routt County Search and Rescue is always on call and prepared in case it is dispatched.
Now, the Search and Rescue is calling on you.
The 11th annual fundraiser for the volunteer organization is 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Bear River Bar and Grill in Gondola Square.
To this date, former president Tim O'Brien said the Search and Rescue has never charged for a mission to search for an injured person or group. The volunteer members typically go on 60 to 65 missions a year.
"I think it's quite an honor to help the community in a way that's so important," O'Brien said.
Tickets for this year's fundraiser are $10 in advance and can be purchased from any Search and Rescue member. Tickets are $15 at the door. Children 5 and younger are free.
This year's fundraiser will include live entertainment, food and door prizes. It also will include the silent auction, which always has smaller items as well as big-ticket items.
The Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has donated the venue and the food.
"At the resort, we are pleased to be able to offer support to worthwhile community agencies that play a vital role in the Yampa Valley," said Heidi Thomsen, the ski area's public relations manager.
Steamboat Orthopaedic Associates, P.C. and the Spine Center of Steamboat Springs are the other corporate sponsors for the fundraiser.
"Routt County is such a giving community," O'Brien said. "It's great to be a part of it."
It could be argued few individuals give more than Search and Rescue members. They are not paid, and they are sometimes dispatched in the worse conditions. For some victims, the Search and Rescue is their last hope of being found and saved.
Search and Rescue president Randall Hannaway has served on many boards, but Search and Rescue is the one he won't leave.
"This is by far the most rewarding thing for me," he said. "It's hard to get more rewarding than basically grabbing somebody from the Grim Reaper's hand."
Many of the Search and Rescue victims are injured in rugged terrain and would not be able to get out without the help of experienced people with appropriate training and vehicles.
"Unfortunately, the majority of our victims don't break a leg on a sunny day," Hannaway said. "They break a leg 12 miles into (the backcountry) in 20-below zero (temperatures). So often we don't know where they are. It's a challenging environment."
In addition to the fundraiser, Search and Rescue will be recruiting new members and selling the cards that contribute to the Department of Local Affairs, which reimburses Search and Rescue for all missions when it rescues a person holding the DOLA cards.
The cards are $12 for five years or $3 for one year.
"It is our only fundraiser we do each year," O'Brien said. "Hunting season is a big time of year for Search and Rescue, but we are a year-round group. During the summer, you get the lost hikers and bikers, horseback riders or lost fishermen. During the winter, we have the snowmobilers or cross country skiers who get lost."