Big Bear Valley, CA — The 20some volunteers of the Bear Valley Search and Rescue team have had a lull in the action lately, though past-Commander Jim Lyon tells KBHR that they were plenty busy during the winter season. “We tend to be busier in the winter months,” he says, “due to snowboarders going out of bounds and vehicles getting stuck in the snow.” This past winter, Search and Rescue volunteers spent nine hours trekking through the snow (and in the dark) to search for three snowboarders, all of whom were ultimately recovered (and then cited for riding out of bounds). The SAR team also braved treacherous conditions to scale the drop-off at Lakeview Point off Arctic Circle on January 4, ultimately retrieving the body of an 81-year-old Arcadia man, located about 300 feet down from Highway 18. These volunteers from the Big Bear Valley also made the trip to the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego back in February, to assist in the search for 17-year-old Chelsea King, the girl whose murderer was sentenced to life in prison as of this past Friday. As Lyon recalls, “Several of us went down there over the five-day search, and we were quite heart-broken when Chelsea was found dead. I’d been looking for her just a quarter mile away from where she was found. This one really hit home.” These experiences, both rewarding and tragic—and certainly in uncomfortable conditions—are done voluntarily, and the Search and Rescue squad also spends a couple thousand dollars each to assure they are properly outfitted with gear and tools. As these are all out-of-pocket expenses, the volunteers rely on contributions to pay for the bigger ticket items, such as all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles they use during search and rescue efforts. To that end, the proceeds from this evening’s all-you-can-eat pizza fundraiser at Village Pizza will go toward the purchase of more vehicles for Bear Valley Search and Rescue. The pizza fundraiser takes place from 4 to 8pm this evening (Tuesday), and is offered at a cost of $5 per person, and free for children under eight; there will also be raffle prizes. And should you be interested in joining this rugged, selfless group, additional volunteers are always welcome. For more information on Bear Valley Search and Rescue, contact Jim Lyon at 866-3523.
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