Submitted by: Mel Rice-Public Relations Officer
This past week the Beaverhead Search and Rescue held its monthly meeting under the direction of Commander Lawrence Morrisroe. Last month’s meeting was cancelled due to conflicts. This month’s meeting was called to order at 7:05 with 25 members in attendance, 4 of them via ZOOM. There was a board meeting prior to the regular membership meeting.
James Matthews was introduced as an attending guest interested in joining the unit. Adam Norlander is the latest probationary member to become active in the BVHD SAR. He has already participated in training exercises and participated in the Stan Schafer Memorial Fish Derby. When you see Adam out and about, congratulate him on becoming a member.
Training is a big item and a necessity for the members of any Search and Rescue team. This last month Dr. Mike Clarke provided training for members on various medical equipment the search and rescues has. During his training presentation, Dr. Clarke demonstrated the proper techniques and methods of using the equipment. He also talked about the need for proper training in order to use some of this equipment.
Our training officer, Nate Freeman, then covered the various training opportunities coming up for unit members. In March there will be two opportunities for members to pick up training hours. The first training is a three day course on learning to be a “Search Manager”. Also in March there will be an ice rescue training in conjunction with the Ruby Valley S&R unit. In April, the Tower Ranch will be doing a training on Horse Care. Then in May another 3 day course will be provided on “Swift Water Rescue”. This again will be in conjunction with Ruby Valley S&R. Every member must have a current First Aid/CPR card. Any member needing this certification will have the opportunity to complete it in June. In October there will be a mass casualty joint training with the Grasshopper Valley Fire Department.
The annual “Stan Schafer Memorial Ice Fishing Derby” was a huge success in the month of January. It was greatly enjoyed by all that participated. Everyone was ready to get back to somewhat normalcy and this was a great way to start. Fish were caught and money changed hands with big fish winners and 50/50 winners. Thank you all who supported our endeavor. The unit also wants to give a hardy thank you to Tara Remely for a job well done as the derby chairperson and all those members who participated in a variety of ways. We would also like to thank the Bureau of Reclamation and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for allowing us to have this event. Without your consideration and assistance this derby would not be possible.
Because of COVID during the past two years, your Beaverhead Search and Rescue chose to suspend the annual Stan Schafer Memorial Fish Derby and the annual auction. Both of these events have been substantial fund raisers for the unit. As we have noted above, the fish derby has once again been held. Now the members are discussing the idea of resurrecting our annual auction. It will be determined at the April meeting as to whether or not we will have the event. If we do decide to have it, we will once again be looking for donations of auction items from you the public. Anyone who has attended an S&R auctions will know that our auctioneer since the start of this event has been Val Prophet. As we all know Val passed away last year. He was a fine man and a great sport when it came to the auction. On a bright note, the BVHD S&R voted to name the auction “Val Prophet Memorial Auction”. The unit believes this will be a great tribute to a fine man. Thank you Val for all your years of dedicated service to the unit as a member and auctioneer.
On the 28th of January, the search and rescue unit held its annual appreciation dinner at the golf course. The dinner is to honor outstanding members and spouses for putting up with early morning call-outs and long search events. This year’s “Rookie of the Year” is Dan Cahill. Dan is retired from law enforcement in California. He has been a very active in attending nearly all searches/rescues the unit has had and participated in most every training and other events sponsored by the S&R. Congratulations Dan, keep up the good work. The “Member of the Year” is Lawrence Morrisroe. Lawrence is the current commander of the unit serving his second year. He has been essential in bringing us into the 21st century. Not only being involved as a search manager and going to the field during active searches/rescues, he has brought the unit up to date with computers, mapping programs, tracking programs, GPS use, and many other electronic devices. These things have made a great difference the unit’s ability to keep track of members during a search, recording the actual ground covered, looked at, during search activities and recording member’s year-long activities. All of these things have enhanced our abilities to find “Lost” individuals
It has been a quiet 2022 so far with no rescues or searches taking place, which is how we like it! However, the snow that just came is a good reminder that winter is not over yet and with each of these snows comes inherent dangers in the mountains. The possibility of avalanches becomes greater with each of these heavy load bearing dumps. Please be extremely cautious and prepared when you go out there. Danger is lurking, don’t let it raise its ugly head. Same is true with the ice conditions on the area pond and lakes. The ice is deteriorating quickly with the warmer days. Please be careful if you think you need to do some ice fishing. With open water around all edges remember the ice is continually moving. Once you are on the ice there is no guarantee you will be able to get off where you went on. Be safe and prepared, “In The Business Of Saving Lives” your Beaverhead Search and Rescue.