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They search so others can live

 


The Tehachapi mountains hold many paths for recreation and fun, but sometimes the fun goes wrong. People get separated while hiking; take a fall while out enjoying the mountains; and then there are times some folks, old and young alike, wander off from their homes. Others go out hang-gliding by themselves, or a plane goes down, and the Kern County Sheriff’s department needs help finding these folks.

This is where the Tehachapi Mountains Search and Rescue unit comes in and helps their community members.

The TMSAR is an all-volunteer unit of civilians who give of themselves to help their neighbors.

“We are an all-volunteer group of people who want to give back to our community. Being an all-volunteer unit means the unit members purchase their own uniforms, equipment and training,” Captain Jeff Snyder of the TMSAR said.

Over the last couple of years the TMSAR unit has been called out for numerous hikers who have lost their way.

When 9-1-1 or Sheriff’s Department gets a call about a “lost hiker”, no matter what time of day or night it is, a call goes out to the Captain and he notifies all of the TMSAR members. Anyone who is available to help meets up and assists the KSD officers in finding the missing person. Sometime the hikers have taken a wrong path, become disoriented or injured, but nonetheless they need help and the TMSAR unit members do their best to find them.

They just don’t search for hikers – the unit’s call-outs vary.

A few years back the TMSAR unit went out to see if they could find a missing man who went out hang-gliding. After his vehicle was located, the unit searched and searched. It took a while, but they didn’t give up. With the multitude of valleys created by the up and down terrain, and with many different types and sizes of trees and bushes we have on our local mountains, a ground search, on foot, was needed. Due to the caring diligence of the TMSAR, one of the unit members located the hang-glider and his remains.

“We were saddened that we could not find him close to the time he went down, but we were glad to help his wife and children bring closure to this situation,” Snyder said.

The unit has been called out to help locate downed planes, as well as a lost child or adult.

TMSAR members have, for example, gathered to assist parents with autistic children who have become wayward, as well as a few members within our community who are aging and have become disoriented, wandered off and lost their way.

Specialty training includes teaching members to be observant trackers, how to repel off the steep rock formations as well as give first aid, so they may render care for those they are out to help. The TMSAR unit has become known for its specialty “mountain” training, as well.

Another time the TMSAR, as an extension of the Kern County Sheriffs Department, was called-out to assist in an evidence search. Walking shoulder to shoulder alongside the railroad tracks in the Bakersfield area, unit member Pat (Patrice) Kline found the bullet casing that helped the District Attorney put a murderer behind bars.

As an all-volunteer nonprofit group, they often hold fundraisers around town and within the community. You will know them by their distinctive uniform: A bright orange shirt, green pants and their official Kern County Sheriff Department patches. And, fundraising helps defer costs.

“We are holding our seventh annual Sporting Clay Shoot, April 11 at the Kern County Gun Club in Bakersfield to generate funds to help offset costs for our training,” over 20 year member Robin Jackson said.

For more information about the Sporting Clay Shoot go to TMSAR.org or call one of the members listed in their ad on this page, or at the end of this article

“Currently the unit has 21 members,” according to Robin Jackson.

“But, we are always looking for more members,” Snyder eagerly admits, “because not everyone can come out to each and every call-out.”

The TMSAR unit meets once a month at the Community District building in Golden Hills Community District building located at 21415 Reeves St, Tehachapi, at 8 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month.

“We like to have community members who are interested in becoming involved with the TMSAR to come to three meetings – to get to know what we are all about, and then apply with the Kern County Sheriff Department to become a member of our unit,” Captain Snyder said.

For more information about attending the Sporting Clay Shoot and/or attending some meetings and joining the TMSAR contact Captain Jeff Snyder at (661) 972-4201 or Operations Lieutenant Jim “J.J.” Jackson at (661) 204-1604.

 
 

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