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Keremeos Search and Rescue shutting down after 13 years

A lack of volunteers made it unsustainable
Darrell Taylor from the Keremeos Search and Rescue holds the guide ropes during Family Day in 2018 for one young climber at the Similkameen Rec Centre. (Tara Bowie - Keremeos Review File)

The Keremeos Search and Rescue team is disbanding after 13 years due to a lack of volunteers.

The decision was announced by the BC Search and Rescue Association on Friday, July 22, after the last two members of the team made the decision to retire.

Rose Koehler and Darrell Taylor, a husband and wife team who had been involved with Keremeos SAR since its restart in 2009, have been unable to find volunteers to keep the group going.

“We live in an area with a high number of retired people and, those who are not retired, are often very busy with work responsibilities and family life,” says Koehler. “Being a search and rescue volunteer typically means a significant commitment in time and energy.”

The decision was not an easy one, and the couple assures everyone who may need help that calls will still get a response, just by one of the other close SAR teams from Penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos or Princeton instead.

Ground search and rescue teams can only be requested by certain agencies such as the police.

Anyone worried about a missing person or requiring search and rescue assistance should call 911 to initiate that process as soon as possible, and should not wait 24 hours.

“We loved being part of this group and providing this service to our town but it was simply impossible to continue,” Koehler said.

READ MORE: Busy start to summer for Penticton Search and Rescue

Chris Mushumanski, president of the BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA), praised their dedication and service. “We thank them for their lengthy service along with everyone else who participated in the Keremeos SAR group. We’re grateful for the time they gave and wish them all the best.”

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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