Steamboat Springs Marion "Scotty" Searle has never had to call on Routt County Search and Rescue, but the part-time Steamboat Springs resident felt compelled to make a donation to the volunteer organization nonetheless.
"I hope I never do have to use them," Searle said Tuesday from her home in Lake Forest, Ill. "But I do believe that things like this do need support because they're volunteers and they're obviously working hard and saving lives."
Searle, who said philanthropy was a principle she learned growing up, didn't hesitate to write Search and Rescue a check for $10,000.
"We were raised to give," she said. "It's just what I do."
Searle has been coming to Steamboat Springs for 35 years and has owned a home here for the past 18 years. She said she enjoys skiing, hiking, hunting and fishing, and she has made donations to other Routt County agencies such as United Way, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and the Yampa Valley Land Trust.
Search and Rescue President Randall Hannaway said Searle's generous gift was the largest private donation the agency has ever received.
"We are incredibly grateful," he said. "When we got the donation, it was a complete surprise to me. (Searle) just said she felt like helping out."
Hannaway said the donation will help provide Search and Rescue members with ongoing training and new equipment.
"Donations like these are precisely what continue to help us offer the best in training and equipment, and allow us to do what we do without charging people," he said.
Search and Rescue is funded with monies from Routt County, Steamboat Springs, grants, private donations and an annual fundraiser.
The Gates Family Foundation in Denver also donates about $5,000 to the agency every year, Hannaway said.
Because Search and Rescue is "100 percent volunteer," all of its funding goes straight to training and other needs. There are no overhead or administrative expenses, Hannaway said.
"We can't thank her enough," he said. "It's wonderful that members of the community find us to be a valued service and are willing to support us."
Search and Rescue members logged about 4,000 volunteer hours in 2006, Hannaway said. There are about 50 people who are involved with the group.