EDITORIAL: Hail to the rescuers

As with any recreational activity, there are some risks involved.

The Kootenay is famous for the opportunities to explore nature and enjoy the great outdoors — all year long.

From hiking and biking, to skiing and snowshoeing and sailing to swimming, we have it all.

But along with those great opportunities also comes dangers. As with any recreational activity, there are some risks involved. Injuries can occur, as can more serious troubles including becoming lost or stranded.

Sometimes these situations end with fatalities.

Last week, a skier went missing in the Whitewater area in Nelson.

Despite Search and Rescue efforts, there was no sign of the man. After three nights in the cold many thought the rescue mission would soon change into a recovery.

But this search eventually had a happy ending.

Although he was alone, in the wilderness for three nights, rescuers found the skier, alive and mostly unharmed. It’s a tale of survival that has to be admired.

It also highlights the great work that search and rescue volunteers do throughout the Kootenay.

It’s a job that can be thankless at times. The volunteers that make up the various search and rescue teams in the area are on call and always answer the bell when someone is lost.

They leave their homes and their families to help others reunite with theirs. It’s not an easy job and there is no pay. All they get is the satisfaction that they’ve helped someone survive. Sometimes, they don’t even get that.

The happy ending in Nelson is not always the case. Many times these rescuers are called on to retrieve the bodies of those who could not be found in time. A far more sobering task.

While police and firefighters often receive praise, search and rescue personnel perform important missions, for no pay.

They deserve our thanks.

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