Taylor Isabell, SCVSAR, Snohomish SAR Unit Member
I first walked into Taylor’s Landing on a Wednesday evening in November of 2018 with no idea of what to expect. I remember looking around the room at display cases full of plaques and trophies, lifesaving awards on the wall, and a big banner, obviously handmade, that read “Thank for you for saving our friend.” I remember that seeing the physical reminders of the sweat, hard work, grit, skill, and dedication made me feel small, but also made me feel grateful for the opportunity to serve with SCVSAR. After three short years with the organization, that feeling is unchanged.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, I spent a precious afternoon out of the house in early spring driving up to local trailheads to see what their utilization looked like. I was expecting them to be busy but was blown away by what I saw. It looked like you’d have to park so far away, you’d double your mileage just getting to the trailhead! If you’ve followed us over the last 18 months, you know this led to an unprecedented and difficult rescue season.
But, with call volume way up, recruitment went way, way down. Our usual recruitment opportunities at farmer’s markets, safety fairs, and community events were cancelled along with our in-person meeting opportunities as the organization pivoted to remote and online meetings. As a result, SCVSAR developed a significant shortage of volunteers. Thankfully, as we turned the page to 2021, things opened up, and we’ve been able to recruit a few new members, helping to keep our organization healthy and ready to respond when called upon.
Like many others, volunteer Joe Craig found the application to volunteer on social media. “I’ve been wanting to get more involved in local outdoor groups,” Joe said. “I see more people living in this area and perhaps inexperience could lead to trouble in the mountains, if only on a day hike. I’m comfortable in the woods and can help others that may have misfortune and need assistance. The application process and initial trainings are extensive, but not too difficult to navigate.”
Indeed, the various units of SCVSAR elect volunteers to serve as new member focals, where their responsibility is to shepherd prospective members through the process of joining the organization. Writes new member Matt Fortin, “The volunteers in charge of helping new members navigate the onboarding process are amazing. There is a lot of paperwork and training to be done, but you will be helped and well informed.” David Kuyava, who joined the Snohomish unit to challenge himself and meet likeminded people echoed his sentiments. “I received a lot of help,” he writes, “and had all of my questions answered by the new member focal.”
Danielle Malmberg, another new member with the Snohomish Unit, joined in August of 2021 after seeing social media posts about missions at her favorite trails throughout the county. In her first month with the organization, Danielle happened upon fellow hikers in distress on two separate occasions, rendering aid each time. SCVSAR members truly make life-saving differences in our community and beyond.
If you connect with our organization’s mission and want to serve your community, we here at SCVSAR would love to have you on our team. We still need new members. Please visit scvsar.org/volunteer for information or reach us through any of our social media channels. However, it takes more than time and dedication to save a life. Every SCVSAR mission is performed free of charge. Our continued operation relies primarily on the generosity of community organizations, businesses, and individuals, and you can help by visiting
scvsar.org/donate. Please, consider supporting our organization with a tax-deductible donation, “that others may live.”