JUCO: Mesa County Search & Rescue receives donation

Mesa County Search & Rescue is the epitome of a volunteer organization.

The men and women on the seven rescue teams buy their own equipment, volunteer their time and pay for their own training.

“People think we’re funded by the Sheriff’s office, but we’re self-funded, non-profit,” said Ryan Springer, a member of the ground team. “They provide the vehicles. The ropes and equipment (are paid for by donations and the team members).”

The Search & Rescue unit received a check last week from the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series Committee to help defray some of those costs. The donation was part of JUCO’s theme of giving back to organizations that help not only the baseball tournament, but Grand Junction and Mesa County.

In all, JUCO gave back to the tune of $23,000 to local organizations. Little Mavs Baseball received $500, Challenger Baseball $2,500 and School District 51 $5,000.

Receiving $1,000 each were Mesa County Search & Rescue, the Salvation Army, United Way of Mesa County, Mesa County Partners, Grand Valley Lacrosse and the 10 service clubs that host the tournament teams.

“That’s what keeps us in business of going to help people,” Springer said. “When the river rises and (with) the economic conditions, people are seeking free entertainment instead of going to the movies. Our mission counts rise and water is a big part of that.”

The ground team of 35 volunteers responds to about 90 percent of all missions in Mesa County, Springer said, and last year took over water response.

“We’re trying to get as many people certified in swift water rescue as we can,” he said.

“That’s where this money is going to. There’s a school in Durango to send people to get certified.”

The Search & Rescue teams spend thousands of dollars on ropes and rescue gear each year.

“It’s amazing how many people think we’re paid and get handed our gear,” he said.

“We have to buy $3,000 or $4,000 of gear to do what we do. It’s an expensive hobby.”


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