By Julie Johansen
Members of Emery County Search and Rescue team have been lifesaving angels to over 100 people this past year. On average, the team receives between 10 to 15 calls annually. However, this year, the number has been much, much higher. In speaking with Emery County Search and Rescue Commander Greg Jewkes, he contributes that to the increase in tourism on the San Rafael Desert. Most of their calls are on the reef, according to Jewkes.
The Posse, as it was previously called, began in the early 1950s and the first commander was Claude Scovill. At that time, there were only a handful of men in the group.
“In 1967, there were about 18 members when I joined the group,” said Howard Tuttle.
The group today has grown to 33 members, all of them men. “Not a better group of men,” was the feeling of the members as they gathered at their monthly meeting on Monday evening. All of the men are volunteers and they also spend many donated hours organizing fundraisers for residents in the county.
Members mainly rescue or recover in Emery Country but at times have partnered with Wayne County and assisted in both Sanpete and Sevier counties. They have a rope trained group and also do water rescues.
The volunteers are independent of the Emery County Sheriff’s deputies but coordinate when necessary. Members expressed gratitude for the logistical support from the sheriff’s office when needed.
As someone who was rescued by the Emery County Search and Rescue Team stated, “They really are lifesaving angels in work clothes.”