Thu, July 18

Editorial: Search and rescue volunteers represent selfless service at its finest

There is no better example of selfless service in Yavapai County than the men and women who make up the Yavapai County Sheriff's Search and Rescue teams.

When you or one of your loved ones bite off more than you can chew while scaling a mountainside in Sedona, search and rescue will safely bring you home.

When your dementia-stricken mother or father disappears in the middle of the night or during triple-digit-degree summer days, search and rescue will find them.

When the thrill-risk of running rapids during high-water season leaves you wet, cold and stranded, the sheriff's swift water rescue team will bring you back to dry land.

And throughout Arizona, nowhere else can you find more willing and active volunteer search and rescue team members than what exists in Yavapai County. In all, there are 350 unpaid volunteers and collectively they stepped up to perform 22 percent of all such missions in Arizona in Fiscal Year 2015-16, making them the busiest in the state. They took part in 106 search-and-rescue operations and donated more than 5,200 hours of their time.

It bears emphasis that this is volunteer work that can mean the difference between life and death. Further, it represents that most special kind of person who is willing to put his or her own life in peril to make sure you live to see another day.

They take on these tasks in the form of Jeep Posse, Air Group, Mounted Sheriff's Posse Backcountry Unit, Swiftwater Rescue Team; Search Dog unit; 4x4 Unit, Mounted Unit and Quad Unit.

Why do they do it?

As veteran search and rescue volunteer Dan Hughart explained, "It's all about the look and the expression of gratitude we get when we rescue someone or find somebody. Just that good feeling that, these people, as soon as they see you, the relief on their face that they instantly have."

The volunteers who make up Yavapai County's search and rescue teams are living examples of what the word "hero" is all about.

Thank you for your selfless service.