Comox Valley Search & Rescue members prepare for a training session. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox Valley Search & Rescue members prepare for a training session. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox Valley SAR reaches milestone 1,000 operations

Comox Valley Search and Rescue began operating in February 1974

Since Comox Valley Search and Rescue’s first operations dating back to February 1974, the organization has matured and grown to one of the most professional and highly skilled volunteer-driven search teams in British Columbia.

In its infancy, Comox Valley Search and Rescue responded to a handful of calls each year, searching for overdue hikers and conducting mountain rescue operations that fell far outside the mandate of more traditional emergency services such as fire departments and ambulance services.

One example of this was the 1977 search for 22-year-old Duane Bressler from Wichita Kansas. Bressler, related by marriage to U.S. Vice-President Walter Mondale, separated from his hiking partners while hiking in Strathcona Park. Despite a massive search conducted by avid mountaineers and trained mountain rescue personnel from multiple communities it took some 15 months to locate the remains of Bressler.

Comox Valley Search and Rescue’s almost 50 years of service to this community are filled with stories of dramatic rescues as well as long-duration operations such as the Bressler search.

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While new technology has dramatically changed the face of search and rescue operations throughout the province, the need for search and rescue services had dramatically increased annually.

2020 was Comox Valley Search and Rescue’s busiest year on record with 74 activations in the Comox Valley and throughout B.C. in support of large-scale multi-day operations.

During the summer of 2021, the team reached its 1,000th operational activation when they responded to an overdue hiker in Strathcona Park.

CVSAR president Paul Berry noted that in the quiet, humble tradition of the team, this milestone passed without fanfare and in fact was eclipsed by three complex search and rescue operations in the following days and many more since.

“The men and women of Comox Valley Search and Rescue train weekly to ensure readiness and continuous improvement to provide the best in service delivery to those that rely upon our services in their greatest moments of need,” he added.

For additional information on Comox Valley Search and Rescue visit their website at cvgsar.com or follow them on Twitter or Facebook.



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