Pictou County Volunteer Ground Search and Rescue (PCVGSAR) is one of 23 teams in Nova Scotia that help recover and search for those in need. On Saturday, the team was asking the community for help as they set up outside of Walmart seeking new volunteers to join the organization.
With a sunny day, it certainly was not hard to see the crew as they camped out with their command trailer decked in hunter orange outside of the busy shopping spot. The team is called out to assist at all hours originally, contacted by police after someone is reported missing. With complete maps of all of Pictou County as well as the province at their fingertips, the group sets up camp and uses their training and technology like GPS to fan out in teams and look for the subject.
“We’re hoping to get more members,” said Charlie Strickland, one of the leads of the group as well as an instructor for those who take the training.
Similar to volunteer fire departments, the PCVGSAR relies only on volunteers and with the odd and unexpected hours of the calls, not everyone is able to make it to all of the calls.
“I think we’ve given out several applications,” Strickland said about how the event had been going on Saturday. “They’re doing a bit of fundraising, too.”
A donation above a certain amount would earn donors a prize that was generously donated by a number of local businesses. Currently, the group receives $3,000 a year from the provincial government and it applies to receive different grants as well, however, when it needs to buy new equipment standard gear such as a GPS radio can cost in the thousands of dollars. Donations help the group upgrade their equipment to better help those who are lost.
“The main thing is we need to take care of the people in the woods,” he said.
The group meets every second Wednesday at the Alma Fire Hall, or people can check out their Facebook page or email them at email@example.com.
Gordon Sutherland shows off the prize wheel which was part of the recruitment and fundraising day hosted by the Pictou County Volunteer Ground Search and Rescue crew outside of Walmart. (Brimicombe photo)