PORTLAND -- Extreme interest surrounding the search for Kyron Horman has also raised awareness about the highly skilled experts looking for him.
It's been interesting, crazy and fun, said Morgan Walker, an eighth grader who spent the past year training to become a certified search and rescue volunteer with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.
Tenth grader Andre Terlyuk couldn't agree more. It's awesome, he said. You come home at night, take a long shower and it's just perfect.
They are among more than 40 young people who are about to become certified search and rescue volunteers.
They trained for nearly a year. Much of their training happened during searches for evidence in the Kyron Horman investigation.
Background: The search for Kyron Horman
A lot of young people want to get out here in the woods and help the family find Kyron, said Micheal Finnigan, a tenth grader at Gresham High School.
It's a big responsibility for these 15 and 16 year olds, but they said the long hours and sometimes painful searches are worth it.
There are some down times, like going through sticker bushes, but at the end of the day you feel accomplished, said Finnigan.
Kyron's father is deeply touched by the dedication of all search and rescue crews, especially the young volunteers.
They've seen the role search and rescue plays on these investigations and I think a lot of people are passionate about helping, Horman said. I'm so glad to hear they are having such a large graduating class.
The number of volunteers graduating and become certified from Multnomah County this year is three times higher than it was in 2010.
Jason Paulson has volunteered his search and rescue skills for 14 consecutive years. He started when he was 16.
Now after working long hours during the week as a tow truck driver, he volunteers every weekend to help rescue people in need.
It feels incredible when lost people see you and go from being down to a huge smile on their face, said Paulson.
William Dawson just experienced that special feeling for the first time after helping find a lost hiker, he's only in 9th grade.
I was there when they found him and I have to say it felt so good to be a part of it, Dawson said.