Heidi McKeon, Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue President
“Three Teens Rescued from Three Fingers Mountain” the headlines read back on August 26-27, 2008. Our son was one of the three teens whose lives were saved. The 20 hours we spent at the SAR Base Camp was our family’s first introduction to these amazing volunteers of Search & Rescue. It was both the worst and best day of our lives. (You can find the whole story on the www.scvsar.org “Home” page, near the bottom in the “Our Stories” Section.)
In the months following the Three Fingers rescue, my husband, my mother and I all joined SCVSAR as members of the Operations Support Unit (OSU). Much of my work on missions has been with Documentation in the Command Vehicle, as well as holding a leadership position within OSU for a number of years and eventually leadership positions with the County Board. As the first woman President of SCVSAR and the first President to come from the Operations Support Unit, my story simply highlights that anyone can meaningfully support this wonderful organization.
While we need field qualified personnel to go on missions and be trained for units and teams, such as Everett Mountain Rescue Unit, Swiftwater Rescue Team, the K-9, 4 x 4 and Tracking Teams, and the Helicopter Rescue Team, we also need support personnel for the Command Vehicle (documentation, mapping, communications & planning), and for the Food Truck. 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.
2020 has been a unique year for Search & Rescue. I took over the reins of the organization just before the global pandemic hit. With the COVID-19 restrictions significantly affecting how we operate, our meetings have been done via Zoom, and our trainings were suspended until we received permission from the State SAR coordinator to resume small team trainings with COVID-19 protocals in place. Our mission tempo has been high through the summer with many folks escaping to the outdoors for relief. While we have been very busy with missions, donations to our organization (and to all 501c3s) have markedly decreased.
Not everyone can put in the time to become a Search & Rescue Volunteer, but 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 was for our family. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to Snohomish Count Volunteer Search & Rescue (www.scvsar.org), 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 will be carefully and thoughtfully allocated to where they are most needed; and know that you’re making a tremendous difference.
Thank You Very Much.