Each year, thousands of visitors flock to Jackson Hole to enjoy some of the wildest adventures this country offers. During the winter season skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and ice climbing are some popular pastimes. During the summer season river rafting, climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing, and so many more draw in those looking for a rush of adrenaline.
Meet Teton County Search & Rescue
Every outdoor adventure comes with risks, an aspect of visiting Jackson Hole that few people prefer to think about. One of the organizations responsible for rescuing those adventurers who find themselves in trouble is Teton County Search & Rescue. Today we feel honored to spend some time also discussing how to stay safe while adventuring in the Jackson area, and how to support the organization committed to rescuing those who find themselves in danger. We had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Thomas, the Executive Director of TCSAR, who gave us more insight into the organization and how we can all help support it.
Stephanie, what is your role in TCSAR? How did you come to be part of the organization?
“I have been a volunteer for TCSAR since 2007. My first job in town (in 2002) I was working at Parks and Rec where my boss (Mike Estes) had been on the team since it’s inception. I would see him leave work to go on rescues and I thought it was both really cool and a great way to give back to this community. When I completed grad school and knew I’d be here full time, I applied and was accepted to the team.”
What is the biggest impact you’ve witnessed TCSAR making in the community?
“Helping families reunite with loved ones or, in tragic cases, finding closure. People join TCSAR because of their dedication to our community. The dedication it takes to be a volunteer is pretty unbelievable. The volunteers are beyond committed because they truly want to support someone on one of their worst days.”
What propels people to strive to be a volunteer? Is it a challenging process to become a volunteer?
“Community, giving back, and using one’s skills for good are all reasons people become volunteers. Volunteers go through an interview process and, once accepted, complete a year of intense training before becoming a volunteer. Becoming a volunteer is a huge commitment and requires time spent away from loved ones; in the end, it feels incredibly good to be able to help in a time of need.”
Is there anything you wish visitors to the area to know in advance?
“That the dangers of the outdoors are real. Being prepared, practiced, and present are so important to not just having a good time but potentially in saving your life. Often, our adventure activities are different than what people have experienced elsewhere, so they haven’t contemplated the repercussions of an accident. My advice is to slow down and make informed decisions.”
How can visitors to the area best support TCSAR?
“TCSAR Foundation is a non-profit which supports TCSAR. You can visit this site to donate, www.tetoncountysar.org, which will help support the volunteers; this is a great way to give back. You can also purchase any of the swag. When it’s all said and done, the absolute best way to support TCSAR is to be prepared for your adventure, be honest about your abilities, and thoroughly think through the decisions you are making.”
What else do you wish for future visitors to the area to know about TCSAR?
“TCSAR members are community members; they work regular jobs and have families, hobbies, and obligations. When they get called out on Christmas or Thanksgiving, they are often giving up family meals and leaving kids at home. Volunteers continue to do it year after year because they believe so strongly in the mission of being available 24-7-365 and want to help in every way possible. The Foundation continues to raise money to support the volunteers, which goes towards personal safety equipment, essential gear, dinners for volunteers during trainings, and a holiday party to celebrate their dedication. Donating to TCSAR now only supports volunteer training and rescuing efforts, but also helps to support them individually.”
Alright folks, as you plan your Jackson Hole getaway, keep the wise words and insight of Stephanie in mind! This is not a blog to dissuade you from adventuring, simply to keep you informed and alert of what is at stake.
Those of us who live here in Jackson are very familiar with the incredibly heroic actions of the TCSAR volunteers, which is why we are thrilled to announce a special benefit, Rescuefest on September 14th to raise money for TCSAR.
Join us from 5-7 pm on Saturday, September 14th for a silent auction, live music, and beer garden on Snow King Resort’s Grand Lawn.
There will be a $20 suggested donation at the event
Join us for a raffle and silent auction, with over $4,000 in prizes!
Enjoy lawn games, beer, and bites, along with live music by Aaron Davis & The Mystery Machine
We look forward to seeing you there! If you can’t make it to the event, you can still support the cause by donating here.