Southern Arizona Rescue Association looking for volunteers

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 10:53 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - As we quickly approach summer and temperatures in southern Arizona keep heating up, one organization is looking for more help.

The Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA) is in dire need of volunteers to help with searches and rescues in Pima County.

The group helps the Pima County Sheriff’s Office with about two rescues per week.

Amy Di Miceli (McPherson) is a rescuer and the Director of Membership with SARA.

“On a normal year, we will actually do about 100 to 120 rescues a year,” Di Miceli said.

She said even though it may look like a hard task, anyone in the community can help out.

Di Miceli said people who enjoy being outdoors and have a passion for helping others in emergencies, would be a perfect candidate for the team.

“We’re looking for anyone interested in hiking,” Di Miceli said. “Someone who enjoys the outdoors, who enjoys hiking, and also looks to give back to their community.”

Di Miceli tells 13 News every candidate is properly trained and prepared to respond to any situation.

“Sometimes those rescue operations can be deep in the wilderness, they might be day-long searches,” Di Miceli said. “That could take away a lot of resources from fire departments and EMS.”

It’s not always people who are in need of a helping hand.

Trevor Dickerson has been a candidate with SARA since last August.

Dickerson said one of the most memorable rescues involved a four-legged friend.

“I’m an animal lover,” Dickerson said. “There was one rescue we did up on Mount Lemmon where my personal task in that one was that patient had a dog at risk of severe hypothermia. I kept that dog warm throughout the night at the risk of my own hypothermic state and that dog survived, I think, because of that.”

Dickerson said anyone, with any strength level, can help out during these emergency situations, people who are interested just need to have the heart and the passion.

“One is being able to make the commitment, knowing you are passionate enough to make the commitment,” Dickerson said. “Two, I think it is very important that everybody understands that what we do is a very vital service to the community.”

Both Dickerson and Di Miceli agree even though volunteering is a commitment, it gives them a purpose outside their everyday jobs.

“When you are out in the wilderness, you are alone, you are injured it could be a scary time,” Di Miceli said. “Going for hikes is something I love to do and being able to hike with a purpose is very rewarding.”

SARA wants to stress anyone in the community can help out and the more volunteers they have the better. They also want the community not to hesitate to call in cases of emergency as they do not charge the people being rescued for their services.

The group will hold two information sessions on June 3rd and July 6th at 7:00 p.m., anyone interested is encouraged to attend.

These sessions will take place at the SARA House, which is located just north of the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Overflow Parking Lot, at 5990 N Sabino Canyon Road.

During these sessions, interested individuals will have the opportunity to learn more about SARA’s mission, meet current team members, and gain valuable insights into the role of a rescuer.

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