Washington County Search and Rescue honored

In this 2015 file photo, the Washington County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue responds canyoneering accident in the Dixie National Forest, Utah, Dec. 16, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Daughters of the American Revolution Color Country chapter recently acknowledged the members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team, presenting them with the 2021 Community Service Award.

Maureen Parks, Color Country Chapter’s national defense committee chair nominated the team for providing “outstanding” service to the community it serves.

“I live between Snow Canyon and Padre Canyon in Ivins, and they are out here a lot,” Parks said. “They are an impressive team. My goodness, they are willing to put their own lives in jeopardy responding to the needs of others. They sacrifice so much with very little recognition.”

Washington County Sheriff Search and Rescue liaison Sgt. Darrell Cashin is proud of the recognition but credits his team with its success.

“My team was so proud of this,” Cashin said. “This was not for me, it was for my volunteers. It is about recognizing the team for all the things they do because this is all they get – a thank you from someone, the opportunity to rescue someone in need of help, or the chance to make a difference – this is what matters to them. This honor means a lot to me and my team.”

For more than a century members of the Daughters of the American Revolution have been passionate about community service, preserving history, educating children, as well as honoring and supporting those who serve our nation.

In Southern Utah that devotion has been taken up by the Color Country Chapter, of the National Society.

Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell Cashin, a 25-year veteran in law enforcement is proud of the accomplishments his team in search and rescue has earned. St. George, Utah, Oct. 20, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

A spotlight on the selflessness of search and rescue members has been long overdue, Parks said.

Search and rescue grew out of the Sheriff’s Posse with its roots dating back to the 1950s-60s in Washington County.

The mission of the posse was to assist the sheriff’s office during emergencies. In the 70s the posse morphed into what it is today, search and rescue.

Under the authority of the Sheriff, the team consists exclusively of volunteers who possess specialized training and equipment that address six disciplines.

  • Ground Team
  • High Angle Rope/Mountain Rescue
  • Dive Team
  • Swift Water Team
  • Emergency Medical Team
  • K-9 Team

Search and rescue’s mission is to work hand-in-glove with first responders on a myriad of emergency calls.

The current roster is made up of approximately 75 volunteers ranging in age from 21 to 72.

“As liaison, I am the go-between the sheriff, and search and rescue,” Cashin said. “Everything runs through me. I spent 13 years out patrolling, like every other deputy, but this has been the most satisfying part of my job.”

Although nothing is “typical” in the life of search and rescue, in 2021, the team responded to nearly 150 incidents and logged more than 330 volunteer hours.

Washington County Sheriff Sgt. Darrell Cashin (L) with Maureen Parks, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution-Color Country Chapter (R) and Search and Rescue Cmdr. Joe McArthur accepted the DAR’s 2021, Community Service Award on behalf of the county’s volunteer search and rescue team. St George, Utah, Nov. 14, 2021 | Photo courtesy Color Country Chapter, DAR.

Though the number of calls has remained consistent – about 130 annually, although during COVID it jumped to more than 170 with more people enjoying the freedom of being outside – during the past four years, the type of calls has changed.

“There are so many people in the backcountry now that we’re going on mountain biking crashes, hiking injuries, UTV rollovers, it’s become a little bit of everything,” Cashin said.

Not to sound jaded, but the public often takes the job of search and rescue for granted, Cashin said.

“This job takes a lot of training, experience and technical work to do this job well,” he added. “We have six teams, you can think of them as disciplines, and every team trains every month. It’s not just about the rescue calls it takes so much more.”

Universal throughout search and rescue is a commitment to community, Cashin said.

“What I hear from our team is if their loved one was out there and lost, or injured, they would want someone to go and get them,” Cashin said. “They do the job so other people don’t have that worry.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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