Elkford’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Team opened their doors to the community during a sunny afternoon open house. The open house, designed to educate and inform the public on the inner workings of SAR seen many people in attendance. With numerous displays and interactive stations people of all ages were able to see some of the things the SAR Team practice. Also, during the event the new SAR logo was unveiled. “We really just wanted to do a meet and greet with the public, let people know what we do, show off our logo and our water rescue craft from the Lions Club, and just have a fun day with the community,” says Marianne Stone, SAR President.
“Currently we have 18 active members, and we just want to make sure everyone knows that every person has a skill, and anyone can have a job to do on the SAR team. We are always recruiting and want to encourage more people to get involved and volunteer,” says Stone.
Mike Bobak, SAR Manager, team leader and tracker discussed the training and specialized teams Elkford SAR has developed. “We have a specialized water team, who are trained specifically for in water rescues and a rope team which is joint with Sparwood SAR who aid in rescues or searches along banks and cliffs,” he says. At the track trap station, Bobak challenges those who stop by to look at the area and see how many people walked through it. The majority answered wrong, proving the skills of what it takes to be a SAR tracker. Kids and adults alike tried their arm at the throwing bag station to see how far they could throw a rescue rope to a person in need.
Despite all the fun, food, sunshine and company the highlight of the day for SAR members was a visit from 12 year old Jake Oosterwijk (son of the recently located Jacob and Anja Oosterwijk) who attended with family friends. “I just wanted to come to meet the people who searched for my parent. I was really worried about them. It feels really good to have them home and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped look for them,” he says. Gerrit Sinke, a close friend of the Oosterwijk’s and the head of the Alberta side of the search for Jacob and Anja says, “The family is very thankful for the incredible search efforts of all those involved. Search and Rescue, Fish and Wildlife, RCMP and everyone is appreciated for their time and effort. What really needs to be mentioned is what sets the SAR apart, is that you can tell, they truly care about what they are doing and the people they are looking for,” he says.