A Year in Review, 2019

 In General

We hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season so far and we wish you all a very happy start to the new year! This is the time when we reflect on the year that has passed, hold on to the memories that made it a great one, and remember the lessons we learned to make the year ahead that much better. We did a little reflecting as a team too, and here are some of our most memorable moments from 2019…

This year Chilliwack SAR was called upon to search for three separate instances of missing elderly people. In the summer we searched for a missing person in downtown Chilliwack, and in the fall for a second missing person in Columbia Valley, and a third one on Promontory. For me, what stood out the most was the support that not only the team received from the community during the searches, but just how much the community rallied together to assist in each of the different searches.

From physically searching and social media posts to putting up posters and providing food – the community support for each of the searches was outstanding. Not only is Chilliwack one of the most beautiful and scenic places to live in, but it’s also the sense of community and the coming together in times of need, that for me, makes Chilliwack the best place to live. – Tracey

2019 was a very busy year which will leave me with a lot of good memories and several not so good. We had five calls this year, three in which we did not locate the subjects and two which ended with the Subjects being discovered deceased after the search had ended. These are the ones which will pop up in the middle of the night, keeping sleep at bay. To balance that, however, were the rescues like the hiker on the Elk trail who was having a possible heart attack.

The summit from the valley floor was in clouds and we had to go way up the Chilliwack River Valley to get above the clouds, and then go back to Elk to find the summit area clear and we were able to get the Subject out successfully. We also had a similar call on Mount Slesse with an injured climber. It looked like it was not going to be possible to reach them until we got further up the valley and found Slesse was in the clear and we were able to evacuate the Subject using CDFL. We had a group of boaters who were stranded across from Chilliwack Mountain. It was very dark and raining hard and very challenging to find a route down to the boaters, but with the aid of the GPS unit and the Jet Skis we were able to get them back to Island 22 safely.

Then near the end of the year, we assisted Hope SAR with a mushroom picker, up near North Bend. It was a challenging rope rescue in steep terrain in the dark but we were able to get the Subject out to BC Ambulance for transport. These were only a few of the calls which had a positive outcome, there were many more, but these are ones that stand out in my memory. – Dan

A highlight for me was when we took SRT members and their kids down to the river to teach them some basic river awareness. Watching the parents interact and teach their kids about the river and just play around was fantastic. – Adam

One of my fondest (and re-occurring) memories is from our Month End meetings when the team comes together to discuss the day-to-day needs of the team, review the tasks from the previous month and make plans for the future. Looking out at such an incredible group of skilled, dedicated, smart, passionate, funny, good-natured people, knowing they’re there to serve their community, is pretty darn cool. – Erin

Happy New Year everyone, and here’s to a safe, happy, healthy 2020, loaded with new adventures (just remember to complete a Trip Plan first :)!

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