On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Klickitat County Sheriff Rick McComas thanked the volunteers of the county's Search & Rescue organization at a dinner and meeting in Goldendale.
Sheriff McComas and Undersheriff Erik Anderson praised the many volunteers for their dedication and long hours, noting that the volunteers' level of training made them specialists that lifted an enormous workload from the sheriff's office and the uniform deputies.
Thirteen missions in 2007 were completed and thousands of volunteer hours were logged. Undersheriff Anderson pledged his support to make Search & Rescue a priority of the department, noting that all sheriff's office supervisory officers would be attending special SAR management training this month.
Anderson also said efforts were underway to upgrade SAR communications and vehicles this coming year.
Sheriff McComas personally recognized SAR Coordinator Jeff King and SAR President Zane Kerns along with other members, for their years of service and inspiration to achieve the current level of readiness and training enjoyed by the organization.
Years-of-service awards included 5-year pins to Dave Irving, Bob and M'Lane Baker (6 years), Bud Nolan (6 years) and Jeff King (7 years). 10-year pins were awarded to Linda Phelps (13 years) and Pete Tol (13 years). 15-year pins were awarded to Eileen Porter and Chuck Borer. A 20-year pin was awarded to President Zane Kerns.
Sheriff McComas noted that Kern's service predated the organization's records, but it was believed to be nearly 24 years of service to Search & Rescue. It was noted that Zane's early participation began as a member of the Sheriff's Posse, searching on horseback.
Special awards of embroidered Klickitat Search & Rescue jackets were presented to "Rookie of the Year" Thomas Wall and "Volunteer of the Year" Bud Nolan.
Additionally, Search & Rescue "Air Boss" Bud Nolan awarded a special "Flight Crew Member" hat to Chuck Borer, who has flown actual Air Search missions as an observer. Borer was the first such flight crew member to be so recognized for his part in actual air missions.
The awards ceremony was concluded and a sumptuous potluck dinner was served, with endless selections of specialties supplied by the volunteers.