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Friends, family remember snowboarder with COSAR donation

More than $17,000 raised in honour of Ryan Fletcher, who died in December snowboarding at Big White
Emma Drago, left, makes a donation of more than $17,000 to Central Okanagan Search And Rescue search manager Duane Tresnich in the name of Ryan Fletcher. Fletcher’s family and friends were on hand Saturday to honour their friend and thank COSAR. He died in December while snowboarding at Big White. (COSAR photo)

The local outdoor community lost a true adventurer in December when Ryan Fletcher died in a snowboarding accident in the Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) search manager Duane Tresnich called Fletcher “an outdoorsman who personified our membership – he had a huge love of the outdoors and was always happy to step up and lend a hand.”

On Saturday, March 26, Fletcher’s family and friends met with COSAR to present them with more than $17,000 raised to support the volunteer organization.

“We are extremely grateful to all of the organizations and individuals that contributed to finding Ryan,” said Fletcher’s lifelong friend, John Barker. “Raising funds to support COSAR felt like the best way to express our thanks to a wonderful organization that provides rescue efforts when the worst-case scenario occurs.”

Barker organized a GoFundMe page along with wife Sonya Barker and friend Katy Drago.

COSAR was tasked with the search and subsequent recovery on December 26-27, 2022. The operation included members from the Big White Ski Patrol, Penticton SAR, Vernon SAR and a helicopter from North Shore Rescue with night vision capabilities.

Tresnich, who coordinated the complex search and recovery, accepted the cheque on behalf of the volunteer rescue group.

“We are extremely grateful for the donation,” he said.

The money will go towards training for COSAR members with some put aside to go toward a new building for the organization.