The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Wahkiakum SAR members celebrated


December 26, 2019

Alan Bennett

SAR team members honor Jean Kelsey (center, with plaque), flanked by Beau Renfro (right) and Allen Bennett (left) as Wahkiakum SAR Team Member of the Year.

Wahkiakum County Search and Rescue completed 2019 with a holiday celebration at the County Courthouse last Wednesday evening. The evening began with dinner provided by the Team Board of Directors and ended with search and rescue-related presents passed out by "Santa" Billy Goldsmith, and we had plenty to celebrate in between. By far the biggest is that we had no actual emergency call-outs this year (compared to eight last year). Thanks, everyone in the public for being safe! We also had an increase in membership, increases in trainings completed, and higher participation in our monthly in-class and in-field trainings.

Alan Bennett

SAR team and Coast Guard helicopter crew from Astoria pause training for group photo. Join our SAR team to learn how to work with flight crews to safely perform rescues.

Allen Bennett, SAR Training Officer, and Beau Renfro, SAR Coordinator/County Emergency Services Director, presented team member Jean Kelsey with the Wahkiakum County SAR Team Member of the Year award. Among her many accomplishments, she completed all requirements as a Washington State Full Field certified SAR member, completed requirements for Basic Tracker status through Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services, participated in all monthly SAR meetings and trainings, presented to Wahkiakum HS students on SAR and our associated Amateur Radio Club emergency services, was key to our fundraising efforts, and developed and implemented a maintenance and upkeep program for our SAR vehicles and equipment. All her accomplishments aside, Jean's best asset is her willingness to help others and make our team the best it can be.

If you would like to get involved with Wahkiakum County Search and Rescue, we meet typically on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., in the River Street Meeting Room, Cathlamet, for in-class instruction and planning. We then typically meet on the following Saturday morning at the county maintenance yard for field training exercises. As an aside: imagine "required training" where Chris Garstki says to you as you are driving one of the military surplus Humvees we own along a gravel logging road during training: "turn hard right into the woods and mud holes ... you need to know this can go almost anywhere" ... and you turn and it does. Training should always be this much fun. Please contact Beau Renfro at the county sheriff's office if you would like to join us as a search and rescue team member.


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