“We don’t consider ourselves heroes or special for doing anything like this. It’s just a group of people that have and affinity towards helping,” says Santa Clarita Search and Rescue Team Member, Carlos Giron.
Not heroes? Some local residents might not agree. The Santa Clarita Search and Rescue Team is a group of volunteers who are on call 24/7. The group is part of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department and assists in a wide array of scenarios ranging from searching for lost hikers, to locating lost children or adults, to sometimes recovering the body of someone who has passed.
Search and Rescue Team Member Marco Pelaez says people would most be surprised to learn that this job is done on a one hundred percent volunteer basis. “A lot of people think that this job gets paid but it doesn’t. We’re doing this as volunteers and we’re doing this for the passion of Search and Rescue. And it doesn’t matter what time it is, you go and do it.”
No matter what the situation, Search and Rescue team members are willing to put their lives at risk. But its not the hiking, traversing water or challenging terrain that team members find the most difficult. Sometimes, the hardest thing for team members to do is set their personal feelings aside.
“There was a call out for a thirteen week old baby that went missing. And as my partners and I are searching for the baby you start thinking about all the possibilities…it’s very hard not to take it personal,” says Giron as he reminisces about past rescue missions.
To some members, being on the Search and Rescue team is about giving back to the community in their own special way.
Search and Rescue Team members Ken Wiseman agrees that sometimes the job does get personal. “Its very important to write checks for charitable group, or to be on boards, all of that is wonderful but there’s something very personal about going out on a search and rescue call. If anybody is the super man. I think it’s the ones who do this day in and day out for a living. We just get to feel a little of thrill and excitement of what its like to do some of what they do and better appreciate what we have in life I think.”