FY 2018-19 SAR Awards & Recognitions

On June 11, 2019, volunteers with the various Benton County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue (SAR) units, gathered to be recognized for their efforts on behalf of the community over the past fiscal year. The Sheriff's Office congratulates these outstanding individuals and thanks ALL of our Search and Rescue volunteers who give of  their time and talents to help keep our community safe!

Benton County Sheriff's Office SAR Member of the Year

Tony Alberti is a new member to MPSAR.  Over the past year he has jumped in and offered to help with many activities.  Tony helped expand the agenda for the SAR Academy First Aid class, which allowed students to further their skills.  During the overnighter, Tony served on the planning committee and took on the role of Scenario 3 Coordinator.  When the medical packs were in need of inspection he quickly volunteered to take on the task.  He is also working to coordinate a physical check hike.  Thank you Tony, for your willingness and leadership to jump in and not only help when needed but to lead the effort!

SAR Unit Members of the Year

Daniel Schneider (DJ) was recognized as one of the 2018 Marys Peak Search and Rescue (MPSAR) Member of the year. DJ has really hit the ground running with MPSAR. He has helped with several training exercises that I am aware of. He was on the planning committee for the successful 2019 SAR Academy overnighter. DJ has a current WFR, which is definitely an asset to the unit. Finally, I spent time with DJ in the field during the 2018 SAR Academy "wilderness navigation" course: he is genuinely a nice, positive person who is fun to be around, and he demonstrated satisfactory ability with navigation concepts and practice.

Tony Alberti was recognized as one of the 2018 Marys Peak Search and Rescue (MPSAR) Member of the year.  Tony has jumped into active roles with many projects.  He has been researching improvements to the medical branch, BCSARM.  His efforts will ultimately help those that we are searching for. Thank you Tony for your contributions to our team!

Chris Davis was recognized as the 2018  Corvallis Mountain Rescue Unit (CMRU) Member of the Year. During his time with our Unit, Chris has been a model member - holding an impressive climbing and mountaineering background then mixing rescue skills and training to help those in need. Chris has been both a team leader and a team member on several challenging missions. While on Three Fingered Jack, Chris was instrumental in helping to save two lives from climbers who were "stuck" on a tiny ledge in an area of the mountain likely never traveled before. The climbers had gotten turned around while in a zero visibility cloud and descended the wrong direction. On July 4th of 2018 Chris was the rescuer who freed a young boy from a ledge over a river in Marion County where he had scrambled up to take photos.  Chris has been a long time instructor in our own SAR Academy as well as a guest lecturer for the Oregon State University Wilderness First Responder course. The commitment that Chris shows to safety is second to none - both his own, and those who he works around. CMRU thanks Chris for being an active part of our team and feels he is a strong candidate for this prestigious award.

Lacey Duncan was recognized as the 2018 Benton County Sheriff's Mounted Posse (POSSE) Member of the Year.  Lacey is the foundation of our group.  She has always gone above and beyond for the Posse.  She is the first to pitch in and help, has graciously hosted get togethers and ride nights at her home.  She is both our treasurer and secretary and has always strives to make the Posse the best it can be!  We are truly grateful for Lacey and all she contributes to Benton County.

Bill Powell was recognized as the 2018 Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Member of the Year. Bill has been our main net control operator thru several exercises handling voice and digital traffic locally and to Salem.  He is always ready with one of 2 vehicles he keeps radios in.  Recently Bill has been assisting the hospital with equipment upgrades and operation.  At the same time he is very active in the PEAK club (which many BCARES members also belong to) running the ARRL Field Day operation each Fall.

Bonnie Jones was recognized as the 2018 Region 3 Cannie Unit (R3K9) Member of the Year.  Bonnie is an important asset to the R3K9 unit and in the past year has exhibited great leadership for our team. Beyond certifying her own dog in air scent and then moving on to training in human remains detection, she is an active member on the board, assists with trainings and training new handlers, and plays a liaison role with other county teams. As a board member this past year she had to navigate a difficult situation with the other board members at the time and, in my opinion, did it in a thoughtful and professional manner that helped the team move forward! Bonnie definitely deserves the volunteer of the year award for our unit.

Jeff Merth was recognized as the 2018 SKYSAR Member of the Year.  Jeff Has demonstrated exceptional application of knowledge to the drone division of SkySAR. He has researched programs, applications, attended regional education and provided group learning regarding the capabilities and limitations of the current drones.  His leadership and skill served to enhance a difficult river search this past year in cooperation with river patrol deputies. He and another member of SkySAR are currently researching the legal application of night capabilities for the benefit of the entire County.  It is refreshing to witness the dedication that Jeff brings to our unit. His respect, self motivation and diligence is rare. We appreciate you Jeff!

New SAR Unit Members 

The following individuals were welcomed as new SAR unit members.

  • Bassel Ihsan - CMRU
  • Tony Alberti - MPSAR
  • Linnéa Andersson- MPSAR
  • Mel Nelson - MPSAR/R3K9
  • Piers Rasmussen - MPSAR
  • Peter Sabee-Paulson - MPSAR
  • Ashley Safa - MPSAR
  • Ben Schlechter - MPSAR
  • Erin Bradley - POSSE
  • Mandy Dyer - POSSE
  • Lori Moore - POSSE
  • Maddie Olson - POSSE
  • Aly Vergin - POSSE
  • Paul King - SKYSAR

OSSA Search and Rescue Academy Certification Course Graduates

Awarded for completion of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association Search and Rescue Basic Certification Course.  During the past fiscal year they successfully  completed the 90+-hour Oregon State Sheriff's Association Search and Rescue Basic Certification Course. These graduates included:

  • Rolando Beorchia
  • Erin Bradley
  • Mandy Dyer
  • Damon Eliuk
  • Luis Gonzalez
  • Dede Gracey
  • Dave Hil
  • David Honzay
  • Bassel Ihsan
  • Mel Nelson
  • Piers Rasmussen
  • Peter Sabee-Paulson
  • Shale Sabee-Paulson
  • Aly Vergin

Advanced SAR Training Awards

A number of current SAR members were recognized for achieving advanced training in their specialties. These included:

  • Joe McCormick – Ham Technician License
  • Ellen Gradison – Tracking Training
  • Tim Hale – Tracking Training
  • Wendy McIlroy – SARDUS Large Source HRD & Project Canine Therapy Dog certified
  • Tracy Robertson - Project Canine Therapy Dog certified
  • Robin Galloway – Human Remains Detection Type III/IV
  • Meg Walker – Dog Handler
  • Jim Murray – Dog Handler
  •  Bonnie Jones – SARDUS Air scent

Advanced Medical Certification

 Awarded to members who have Current Advanced Medical Training/Certification such as First Responder, EMT, Paramedic, Wilderness Medicine, or Instructor Certification

  • Jeff Merth - Wilderness First Aid
  • Josh Gann - Wilderness First Responder

Volunteer Hours

Every year BCSO SAR volunteers contribute hundreds of volunteer hours to their community. This year the following individuals were recognized for their lifetime contributions...

Over 250 Hours:

  • Jenna Albert
  • Andrew Formiller
  • Robin Galloway
  • Josh Gann
  • Deana Grobe
  • Kat Hampton
  • Jeff Merth        

Over 500 Hours:

  • Jim Murray

Over 1000 Hours:

  • Chris Davis
  • Anthony Odenthal
  • John Stevenson

Volunteer ID Card Photo Contest

2019 SAR ID Card Photo Winner


 Congratulations to Dan Sherman winner of the 2019 Volunteer ID Card Background Photo contest!