SANDY, Ore. – A local search and rescue group who has helped save lives for decades is in danger of losing one of its key command posts.
Mountain Wave Emergency Communications is an all-volunteer nonprofit that provides search and rescue services to local, state and federal agencies. They don’t receive local, county, state, or federal funding. The group relies on donations from the public to continue its operation.
“It’s just a unique bunch of people who will drop whatever they’re doing to help someone they don’t know for nothing in return,” said secretary Tricia Hewlett.
Mountain Wave Search and Rescue gained attention earlier this year for helping find a 2-year-old Portland boy who went missing overnight. During last winter’s storms, the group took employees to local hospitals for work and helped deliver blankets to shelters.
“I’ve probably been involved in 800 to 900 missions in my time doing this,” said Hewlett. “Last year, we had a record 195 calls for assistance.”
Over the past few years, the rent has been donated for a building in Sandy, which houses emergency equipment and supplies. The building is also used for meetings, training and an emergency operations center. But the search and rescue group says this year, they are not getting the donation they usually receive to pay for the building’s rent.
They say keeping their resources in Sandy allows them to respond quickly to incidents on Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.
So, now they’re asking for help from the public to keep the vital post.
“If we have to try and take all that stuff and put it somewhere else, we’ll have to sell a lot of it and beg, borrow from members some of their garage space until we can do something with it,” Hewlett said.
If you would like to donate, visit their GoFundMe page.