Meet Merrick Grieder who volunteers with the Comox Valley Search and Rescue and with Emergency Communications for the Comox Valley Emergency Program.
I've wanted to join Search and Rescue for as long as I can remember. Attending elementary school on a military base in Holberg, B.C., I was exposed to live, military SAR exercises right out the window of my Grade 7 art class. I knew immediately I wanted to be a SAR technician.
To my boyhood mind, becoming a SAR technician was the perfect job. Jumping out of airplanes, dangling from helicopters, helping people in need, and wearing a uniform for Canada were all things that appealed to my young self.
My dream came to fruition in a way, when I was accepted as a member of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue (CVGSAR) in September, 2010. I applied after meeting a CVGSAR board member through my other volunteer work in Emergency Radio and am now taking the B.C. Ground SAR course.
My first operational call-out was an eye-opener to say the least. CVGSAR has been activated to help search for a possible deceased person in a river south of Courtenay, B.C. Highway lane closures, RCMP Air 8 in the air, several CVGSAR rescue vehicles and mutual aid searchers from neighbouring teams all made for quite a complex operation. Having limited exposure to emergency services work, I was a bit out of my element.
This is when I discovered the true measure of our team. Without fail, my new teammates and search managers took the time to help me, instruct me and generally keep me headed in the right direction. I have learned that I am part of a team of very dedicated, helpful and skilled members who are willing to give their time and energy to help the community - and the new guy.
My experience volunteering with SAR has been extremely exciting and rewarding, the culmination of a personal dream and a very real, tangible way to help my community become a safer place.
It's time to join British Columbia's emergency volunteer lifeline and support National Volunteer Week 2012. Visit EmergencyInfoBC to learn more.