JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – When someone goes missing volunteers give their strength and time to help search for closure.
Because of the range of people that go missing, two search and rescue teams met up in Jackson County over the weekend to practice on the acres of Superior Fresh Farms.
“You never know what kind of call you’re going to get. You don’t know if you’re going to get a lost child, a lost Alzheimer, a lot hiker. So, we train as we play,” said Patricia Sanchez, the coordinator for Swayer County Search and Rescue.
That team hails from the north, and Wisconsin K9 SOS Search and Rescue from the south. The K9′s do so much with tracking scents, but could use another set of eyes.
“Sawyer County Search and Rescue is really expert at visual tracking. So, that’s people tracking people. And that’s something K9 SOS doesn’t do and we don’t have experience in,” said Rachel Kravitz, the president of Wisconsin K9 SOS Search and Rescue.
The training exercise also allowed for time to refine their collaborative skills.
“We’ve been on mutual aid calls, and we’re always in that adrenaline state. We’re always going out and finding a person where there’s no time to socialize. This year its just our two teams, next year we hope to encompass more teams,” said Sanchez.
“That hybrid model is something we’re developing. Which, I think is going to be really big down the road,” said Dan Spies, with Sawyer Search and Rescue.
He is familiar with the intricacies of search and rescue missions. The one that inspired him hits close to home. It resulted in the discovery of his son who was lost in Utah.
After taking time to grieve, Spies found the strength to help.
“What was amazing was the dedication. I mean, just like all day, and like I said, really difficult conditions. I became, like, really enamored with this team and the concept of people not being paid and being professionals,” said Spies. “I am now on the team and realize really what the capability of these folks are. And, it’s really a solid contribution to the community.”
It is exhausting work on both the emotional and physical front, but the goal remains the same every mission.
“So, it’s really important to be able to give people back to their families so they can move to the next stage of their grief and their recovery. I will not call it closure, but it’s really important to give families that and loved ones that,” said Kravitz.
Until then, the teams involved will continue to train and find more ways to help bring loved ones home.
The teams do run on donations and appreciate all the help they can get on site with food and resources and off site with checks and other monetary donations.
To donate to the Sawyer County Search and Rescue, you can direct donations to: 10160 Main Street Hayward, WI 54843
Donations to Wisconsin K9 SOS Search and Rescue can be directed to: P.O. Box 323 Sun Prairie, WI 53590.