Monday, April 28, 2008

The Sudden SAR Shuffle

Having a daughter who is part of Search and Rescue for the county sherriff's office is an interesting experience. Let me give you a little insight into what it means:

*You get to pay more than $1000 for equipment and dues. And no matter how thoroughly you hit Goodwill, Criagslist and REI, she will still need SOMETHING every few weeks. It will wear out, run out or fall apart.
*You get the pride of knowing your child is doing something really worthwhile to help her community, as well as learning important material that can help her throughout the rest of her life, regardless of what field she goes into.
*You get to say things like, "I'm off to the sheriff's station to pick up my daughter again. . . for the third time this week" and see people's reactions.
*You get to tell your friends things like, "My daughter was part of a liquor license sting this weekend" or "My kid worked with SWAT teams all day today in a practice school shooting." Unfortunately, at the same time, you have to deal with things like knowing your child is learning how to jump out of heliocoptors and rapelling off the side of waterfalls. Ah, the gray hairs.
*You get the pleasure of watching her take classes on tracking or evidence searches and wondering how this could still be your little baby.
*As I am fond of saying, you also get to see your child eagerly do things that you would be willing to pay a person to make sure you NEVER had to do, i.e. sleeping in a snow cave, wearing 14 layers of clothes at once, carrying a heavy litter up the side of a small mountain, etc.
*Best of all, however, you get to be an active member of what I now call the Sudden SAR Shuffle (SAR meaning Search and Rescue). It goes like this:

The cell phone rings. It's a number no one knows.
She answers. She starts to move quickly. Someone, somewhere is lost or missing. It's time to go to work. She changes into her uniform. She makes sure her pack (which weighs one-third of her total weight!!!) is ready to go. The entire family goes into high gear. Dad grabs the sleeping bag. Coryn fills the water bladder (a sac that goes into the backpack for drinking water). Mom makes sure snacks have been replenished and if it's almost time for a meal, throws together a quick sandwich. Caspian loads the van. We are a well oiled machine because in the last 9 months, she has gotten a number of these calls. You'd think then, that the next part of this tale would be about her heroic efforts with her team to find the missing person. That's not what happens.
Sometimes the Sudden SAR Shuffle gets as far as grabbing her pack--and then the call comes in--mission aborted. Person already found.
Sometimes we get all the way into the van and out of the driveway before the call comes.
Last night, she got all the way to the sheriff''s station and into their van and down the road before it was cancelled.
We were at the grocery store when she called to say she was called in. We had to forego the rest of the shopping, get in line, pay and get out of there fast, so we could get home and start helping with the Shuffle. Then it got cancelled--again.
It has been cancelled EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Now, don't get me wrong. We are all THRILLED that the person was found. That's the best possible outcome. But doing the Shuffle over and over and over again only to have the call cancelled gets O L D. It always makes me think of the Boy who Cried Wolf. I keep fearing that we will one day get one of these calls and we will all casually start getting things together only to find out that this one is really happening and then panic to get her there in time.
It's just one aspect of life in the Orr household that keeps us. . . unique.

1 comment:

Ami said...

I think you should all start living in shifts. That way, someone will always be available to help while everyone else sleeps.

Oh, and you'll need to move closer to the office she works out of. That way, she can just walk when called out.

Just another great idea from my endless supply.

You're welcome.