Oct 092003
Authors: Taylour Nelson

Ever since she was a child watching her friend’s dad participate

in missions, Becca Frager has wanted to be part of a search and

rescue team. Last year, she decided to join the Larimer County

Search and Rescue team to give back to her community while

attending college.

“I go out and hike trails and go to the mountains and I’m

thankful that there are people who are willing to help me and that

I can help out too,” Frager, a junior wildlife biology major,


Search and Rescue team members are unpaid, highly-trained

professionals who devote much of their time to helping their

community through their search and rescue efforts. However, most of

the team members have other commitments in the community, such as

their families, careers, and, for some CSU students, classes and


“I’m a full-time student, and I work 12-hour shifts. You might

be tired, but it’s definitely worth it,” Frager said.

Search and Rescue is a resource used by the sheriff’s department

to help find people who are lost, stranded or hurt in the mountains

and need assistance.

“The types of missions we have are the typical lost person, the

missing hunter, fisherman or child – that’s a big one,” said Don

Davis, the Larimer County Search and Rescue manager. “Or the hikers

who tripped and fell and are (hurt) three miles up the trail.”

When a person calls 911 for a missing family member or a

distress call, the sheriff’s department contacts the search and

rescue team to be sent out into the field and assist with the


“It usually happens at night because the common scenario is that

people don’t show up (at home) and it starts getting dark and then

they get worried and call in,” Davis said.

Search and Rescue members carry pagers with them so they are

able to respond at all times, whether in class or at work.

Dan O’Sullivan, a natural resource junior, has been called upon

to participate in missions during class and has noticed that his

professors are considerate of his urgent need to leave.

“Teachers have been quite flexible, but if I can’t leave right

then I go right after class,” he said. “I can always make stuff


O’Sullivan had wanted to join search and rescue ever since he

was in middle school when he learned about the program.

“It was something I always wanted to do, so I joined when I was

a freshman,” he said. “I wanted to be able to use my skills to help


His teammate, Eric Foster, a nontraditional freshman watershed

science major, has made search and rescue a priority. Foster, who

works for a landscaping company, has been called to search and

rescue missions while working.

“My work is very understanding and supportive of SAR,” he said.

“They know when the pager goes off, it’s time for me to go.”

Foster considers search and rescue a serious commitment and has

been involved with every mission he is able to attend in Larimer

County during the year he has served with search and rescue.

“Other than me being out of town there hasn’t been a time that I

haven’t responded to a call,” he said.

Applicants are considered in regards to availability and their

ability to work in a group setting during the three-month training

session and on the job.

“We are looking for people who will be available anytime day or

night but we realize there’s family and there’s jobs that the

person is also involved in so we need to have enough membership so

we have enough people to pull off a mission,” Davis said.

CSU students who are involved with search and rescue are not

only helping the community, but are also getting experience for

future employment.

Foster plans to go to graduate school to study snow hydrology

and work with avalanches.

“I want to work with snow control in the backcountry so this is

a big part of my future, so it’s good training and it’s fun,”

Foster said.

Students who are interested in becoming a team member for

Larimer County Search and Rescue can find contact information on

the organization’s Web site at www.larimercountysar.org.





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