ST. GEORGE — When people are in distress and need rescue in Southern Utah, the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team is always ready to lend a hand. Today, it was the community and Findlay Automotive Group that had a chance to return the favor, donating $16,750 to the nonprofit organization.
It was the ninth time in a row the group of auto dealers helped raise money for the team during its annual golf tournament, held this year at the Ledges Golf Course in St. George on June 7.
“Every year they do it … they’ve donated a lot of money to us,” team member Jay Pitcher told St. George News.
When he joined in 1984, Pitcher said rescuers had to purchase all their own equipment, including radios, climbing gear and even off-highway vehicles. On top of that, they also had to pay dues every year to be part of the organization and help cover their costs.
Pitcher said they operate on a limited budget, and donations are now used to maintain and purchase equipment, which goes a long way to assist their efforts.
“They really help. I’ll say.”
The Search and Rescue team is made up of volunteers who search for and provide aid to people in imminent danger — their mission, “that others may live.” Members participate in training for specialized operations during rescues. They perform mountain rescues, ground searches and use rescue dogs. Wherever the need, no matter what the time or conditions, they stand ready to answer the call.
Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darell Cashin said the team was called out 132 times to help people in need in 2018 and that 2019 has been a busy year as well.
Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher was on-hand at Findlay Subaru with many of the team members to accept the check. Dave Gourley, general manager of Findlay Subaru, said the tournament has raised almost $100,000.
“We’ll break a hundred for sure next year,” Gourley said. “We’ll blow by it.”
This year, Search and Rescue has already responded to calls 88 times. Cashin said when temperatures start cooling, he expects the number of rescues to jump.
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