Two Kimberley Search and Rescue members were given Challenge Coins from the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association.
Peter Reid and Wendy Hetherington have served for 19 years and received the coins for their dedication to serving others.
Challenge Coins are a military tradition that many public service organizations have adopted. The coins are presented to members who prove great courage and dedication to service.
Reid said volunteering for Search and Rescue can take some getting used to, but it’s a rewarding service.
“As you can imagine it’s a little bit of a groggy experience to start off with, but what we find is the adrenaline starts running pretty quickly and it’s important to us to get out there and find people as soon as we possibly can,” added Reid. “We appreciate the call whenever it comes in and we just feel like we are providing an important community service.”
Being a Search and Rescue volunteer means needing to leave at any time, day or night, even when working other jobs.
“We all come from different walks of life and I find it fascinating to talk to all the volunteers from around the province and find out what they do for their paid jobs,” said Hetherington.
“Every single one of those people responds when they can at any time day or night.”
Hetherington added that it amazes her what SAR members have been trained to do.
“We actually have a swift water team, a rope rescue team, an avalanche team and it’s pretty amazing what these volunteers do.”
“Some of the stuff you see on the tv is what we really do and we’re trained professionally to do it. So I always tell everybody, we have everything but a paycheque.”
Reid adds that while the work can be very rewarding it can also lead to some tough days.
“The ones where we are successful, those ones are great. The ones where we either have to bring bad news or are unable to find the person, those are the ones that really bother me.”