EDITORIAL: That Others May Live no hollow motto for local heroes

This newspaper has said it before and will say it again – those who risk their lives to save others are heroes.

The Comox Valley has more heroes than you might suspect.

This newspaper has said it before and will say it again  – those who risk their lives to save others are heroes.

The Comox Valley has more heroes than you might suspect.

Some are the 40 poorly named search-and-rescue technicians (they should be called SAR Heroes, not SAR Techs) with 442 Squadron at CFB Comox.

As noted in a feature story in Sunday’s Vancouver Province, their motto is an elegant and eloquent That Others May Live.

After intensive training that covers life-saving medical care, parachuting, scuba diving, avalanche rescues, at-sea operations and survival skills, they are relentlessly retrained with the latest life-saving techniques.

They have access to an astounding amount of cool gear. Cormorant helicopters and Buffalo planes top the list, which includes night-vision goggles, mountaineering equipment, snowmobiles and Zodiacs.

There is, of course, a catch.

This equipment and much more is used in some of the most inaccessible, mountainous, stormy and outright dangerous conditions imaginable.

In the past 58 years, more than 50 Canadian Forces search-and-rescue personnel have perished in the line of duty, including a half-dozen from what is now called 442 Squadron.

There are hardly the only heroes in the Comox Valley, though. Volunteers with ground and sea search and rescue also risk their lives so others may live.

Enjoying camaraderie at their annual barbecue after one of the busiest summer rescue seasons on record for Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue, CVGSAR members selflessly went into action recently.

With light failing, they left at a moment’s notice to find and transport a woman and her dog lost in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Getting back to Raven Lodge on Mount Washington by 3 a.m. to pack up equipment to be ready for their next rescue, all 22 rescuers were due at their day jobs in several hours.

Words do not seem adequate for all of these heroes, but bless you and thank you.


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