For working countless rescue missions free every year, Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd recognized members of Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Feb. 13 at the Payson Public Library, which was aglow in neon orange rescue shirts.
Every year, TRSAR responds to dozens of calls for lost and injured hikers throughout the Rim Country. Given the wide range of disasters, they train year-round for everything from swift-water rapids to high-line rope rescues and lost children.
They go day or night, rain or shine and don’t come home until they find the person. Some missions have stretched for days as they climb deep into canyons and others are markedly dangerous, traversing swollen rivers, pulling people from whirlpools and rappelling down shear cliffs.
Leading the group is Commander Bill Pitterle.
Shepherd presented Pitterle with a pin for completing more than 200 missions — 270 to be exact. Along with Pitterle, Shepherd recognized Dave Pirtle and Cliff Sage, each with 271 missions.
Several other members were recognized for having more than 100 missions and others got a pin for supporting TRSAR by serving as a board member, an officer, training coordinator or giving more than 1,000 hours.
The citation for the 100 Mission Pin read:
“Search and Rescue missions are the core function of Tonto Rim Search and Rescue. Participating in 100 SAR missions is a significant achievement. It represents the hundreds of hours spent on missions at any hour of the day or night and in any weather, as well as all of the training that was required to execute those missions. The 100 Mission Pin recognizes that achievement with a pin that can be worn proudly at TRSAR and non-TRSAR functions.”