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President’s Letter – November, 2021

November 8, 2021

The Three Fingers Mountain rescues this year, on October 10 -11 and earlier on August 8, remind our family of our own Three Fingers Mountain rescue back on August 26-27, 2008. Our son was one of the three teens whose life was saved on that mission. The 20 hours we spent at the SAR Base Camp was our family’s first introduction to these amazing heroes of Search & Rescue.

What would be your response if your life was saved, or the life of a loved one? Volunteering with SCVSAR has been our family’s response to this amazing organization. The documentary film, Be Like Water, that will be released in the upcoming months, is Nichole Doane’s contribution “towards the unrequitable debt she owes to SAR for getting her out alive”.

2020 and 2021 have been “interesting” years for Search & Rescue. The COVID-19 restrictions have significantly affected how we operate; most of our meetings have been done via Zoom; our in-person trainings were often suspended until we received permission from the State SAR coordinator to resume trainings with COVID protocols in place. While our mission tempo has been significantly above average, with many folks escaping to the outdoors for relief, new volunteers as well as donations to our organization have both been significantly lower.

SCVSAR volunteers attend monthly meetings with their “home” Unit: Alderwood, Everett Mountain Rescue Unit (EMRU), Explorer (ages 14-18), Marysville, Operations Support Unit (OSU), or Snohomish. Anyone with any skills at all, and with the right heart and attitude, can meaningfully support this wonderful organization. We need field qualified personnel to go on missions; one of our most common missions is a “pack out” of an injured hiker from any one of our very popular trails. We need motivated field qualified personnel to be trained for special operations units and teams, such as EMRU (technical & snow mountain rescue), the Swiftwater Rescue Team (SRT), the K-9, 4 x 4 and Tracking Teams, and the Helicopter Rescue Team (HRT). We even have an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) team, operating state of the art drones to assist in rescues and recoveries.

There are plenty of opportunities for support roles in Search & Rescue. The Operations Support Unit (OSU) supplies the support personnel for the Command Vehicle (documentation, mapping, communications & planning), and for the Food Truck. Much of my work on missions has been with documentation inside the Command Vehicle, wherever base camp was set up. We are also looking for volunteers who may not ever want to go into the field, even in a supporting role, but who are willing to do work around Taylor’s Landing (our headquarters), provide data entry, social media support, or help with fundraising, just to name a few needs. If you are interested in volunteering, please go to

While not everyone can put in the time to become a Search & Rescue Volunteer, many people who love the outdoors can financially support the people who will drop everything that they are doing to help others in need. Someday, the mission could very well be for you or for someone that you love, as it had been for our own family. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Snohomish Count Volunteer Search & Rescue (, a 501c3 organization, this year, and consider donating to SCVSAR every year. Know that your dollars are going to a great cause; know that your funds would be carefully and thoughtfully allocated to where they are most needed; and know that you’re making a tremendous difference. Thank You Very Much.

Heidi McKeon

Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue President