Findlay Auto Group presents $11,545 check to Washington County Search and Rescue

ST. GEORGE — Amid a crowd of supporters, officials and volunteers, a check was presented to Washington County Search and Rescue from a St. George car dealership, a presentation the company has made for the seventh year in a row.

Findlay Auto Group, located at 1369 S. Sunland Drive, presented a check for $11,545 to Washington County Search and Rescue at an event held in front of the Findlay Kia showroom.

The money was raised at the dealership’s annual benefit golf tournament in June at Coral Canyon Golf Course. Findlay’s General Manager Dave Gourley handed the check to Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher.

Findlay Auto Group has been a family-owned business since it opened its doors in 1961, and has raised more than $68,000 for Washington County Search and Rescue over the past seven years, Melanie Baxendale, Findlay Auto Group marketing manager said.

“This is our seventh check presentation and this is such a good cause and a great way to give back to the local community,” Baxendale said.

Referring to the continued support from the company, Pulsipher said, “There’s just no way we could do this on our own, without the volunteers, the donations and the support from the community,” he said.

The money presented Friday will be used for new equipment, repairs and training for new team members as well as ongoing training that’s provided to the volunteers, which ultimately helps those who are rescued and the community as a whole, Deputy Darrell Cashin, Washington County Search and Rescue liaison said.

Washington County Search and Rescue volunteers along with Deputy Darrell Cashin, the program’s liaison in front of the Findlay Kia showroom Friday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 15, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“All of them are volunteers, so when I send out a page, they leave their jobs or whatever they are doing to come out and rescue somebody,” Cashin said, “and I can’t say enough about the people we have.”

The Washington County Search and Rescue program has 65 volunteers who respond to a variety of emergency situations in both rural and urban situations to help locate missing persons, aid in the safe recovery of persons lost or injured in the wilderness, assist first responders with medical calls in remote areas and assist law enforcement with the recovery of human remains.

Due to members’ specialized training and equipment, the versatile team provides services that other public safety agencies cannot.

In addition to participating in rescue operations, members also receive training in first aid, CPR, wilderness survival, radio communication and all-terrain vehicle safety. Teams are formed with volunteers who have expertise in a specific type of rescue, such as rope, ground or swift water, as well as a dive team.

Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel also make up the group of volunteers and provide advanced emergency medical training to the team and respond to many rescues as well. Their contribution is invaluable, Cashin said, particularly in situations where it takes longer to get the person out and to the hospital.

Mrs. Utah, Brittany Hollinshead, attends check presentation with her son at the Findlay Kia showroom Friday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 15, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“When we’re out there in the backcountry we don’t have immediate access to a helicopter or a hospital, so having the advanced medical knowledge to help keep that person alive has been very beneficial,” Cashin said.

The donation couldn’t have come at a better time.

Cashin said that only a few years back, the budget allotted to the program through the Sheriff’s Office was $20,000, with approximately 40 rescues a year. Since 2015, the team has responded to more than 100 rescues each year, and 2017 doesn’t appear to be any different.

“The calls have more than doubled, and it would be impossible for the Sheriff’s office to staff for that many rescues, we couldn’t do it,” Pulsipher said.

During the event, Cashin referred to a recent rescue involving a 66-year-old hiker visiting from New Mexico who, after hiking for nine hours, found himself stuck on a ledge, lost and out of water

Read More: Stranded hiker rescued from ledge on Pine Valley Mountain 

That call to 911 initiated a difficult rescue involving more than 25 search and rescue volunteers and two air missions for Intermountain’s Life Flight crew.

Check presented to Washington County Search and Rescue by Findlay Auto Group Friday, St. George, Utah, Sept. 15, 2017 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

At the end of the challenging, 12-hour rescue operation, the hiker was safely back on the ground and on his way to his brother’s house, thanks to the efforts of all involved, he said.

“It was 7:30 in the morning by the time volunteers made it back, and many of our guys left there and went straight to work after they were up all night assisting in a difficult rescue,” Cashin said.

Those are the dedicated individuals that are part of the Washington County Search and Rescue program, he said, adding, “We are here to do everything in our power to help save a life – that’s it.”

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.






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