2017-18 SAR Awards

Basic SAR Ribbon

On June 12, 2018, 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

Recognized as the 2017 Benton County Sheriff's Office SAR Member of the Year was John Stevenson. John has been an active member of the Corvallis Mountain Rescue Unit (CMRU) since 2012. He is currently a Rescue member and has served roles as a board member as well as a mentor. John is an accomplished climber and has responded on many difficult missions, rescuing those in need in high alpine terrain. John's attention to mission safety and his "can-do" attitude have led to successful rescues in the worst of conditions. The Benton County Sheriff's Office and CMRU congratulate John on being named the 2017 SAR Member of the Year.

SAR Unit Members of the Year

John Stevenson was also recognized as the 2017 Corvallis Mountain Rescue Unit (CMRU) Member of the Year. John holds an impressive climbing and mountaineering background to which he has added rescue skills to help those in need. During the past year, John was both a team member and team leader on two challenging missions that resulted in lives being saved. John was instrumental in helping to save two climbers who got turned around in a zero visibility cloud and were stuck on a tiny ledge in an area of Three Fingered Jack that had likely never been traveled before. Early in 2018, John served as the team leader for an individual who had taken a 40 foot fall in a remote part of Marion County. John led the team that worked overnight to stabilize and move the individual to a safe helicopter extraction point.

Steve Schuster was recognized as the 2017 Marys Peak Search and Rescue (MPSAR) Member of the Year. Steve has been a member of MPSAR since 2010. In that time he has held many roles and has been very involved in the organization. During 2017, Steve served as MPSAR President and has dedicated over 180 hours to MPSAR. Even though his work has often taken him away from the area, he still manages to respond when available to searches and participate in exercises and training. Steve was instrumental in helping search for a downed plane on Green Peter Mountain.

Cheryl Shones was recognized as the 2017 R3K9 Member of the Year. Cheryl is a long-time member of the Region 3 K9 Team. She is always cheerful but takes training seriously and misses very few sessions, even in the worst winter weather. Cheryl's work with her K9 partner "Miah" has paid off. In 2017 they earned a Sardus Suburban Trailing Dog Certification. Cheryl is always ready to share her SAR and K9 training experience with newer members which significantly contributes to the overall strength and readiness of the unit.

Rusty and Barbe Poage were recognized as the 2017 SkySAR Members of the Year. The Poages were recognized for their dedication and resourcefulness during missions conducted in 2017, specifically in conjunction with Polk County SAR. Their willingness to go literally "above and beyond" in securing aircraft and skilled pilots is outstanding.

Distinguished Service Recognition

Distinguished Service recognition is awarded to a member who, through a single action or body of work, brings credit to his/herself and to their SAR Unit and the Benton County Sheriff's Office. This year, the following individuals received Distinguished Service Recognition:

Jeff Merth is a member of the SkySAR Unit. Jeff is always willing, ready, and knowledgeable. During the past year he has specifically focused on drone education to enhance the aerial skills available to the Sheriff's Office.

Scott Smith is also a member of the SkySAR Unit as well as MPSAR. Scott has diligently maintained dedication and service to  SkySAR, Marys Peak Search and Rescue, and the medical unit.

Advanced SAR Training Awards

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

  • Jenna Alert - Ham Technician
  • Sarah Bates - Ham Technician
  • Matt Crawford - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Tyler Deboodt - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Josh Gann - Ham Technician
  • Josh Gann - Advanced Medical Certification/Wilderness First Aid
  • Jerry Heilman - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Jacob Holcombe - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Jonathan Hoy - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Todd Lemein - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Joe McCormick - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Shawn O'Neil - Ham Technician
  • Troy Schaffer - Amateur Extra
  • Todd Shechter - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Jerry Smith - ATV
  • Anna Pakenham Stevenson - Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • John Stevenson- Helicopter Hoist Rescue Technician
  • Dave Vesely - Dog Handler

New SAR Unit Members

The following individuals were welcomed as new SAR unit members. During the past fiscal year they successfully  completed the 90+-hour Oregon State Sheriff's Association Search and Rescue Basic Certification Course and joined a SAR unit. These graduates included:

  • Jenna Albert - MPSAR (2017)
  • Leah Boone  - SOSAR (2018)
  • Lucca DiGioia - MPSAR (2018)
  • Robin Galloway - R3K9 (2018)
  • Deana Grobe - R3K9 (2018)
  • Shane Hetzler - MPSAR (2017)
  • Wes Lambert - MPSAR (2018)
  • Katie O'Neil - MPSAR (2017)
  • Shawn O'Neil - MPSAR (2017)
  • Mike Primmer - MPSAR (2018)
  • DJ Schneider - MPSAR (2018)
  • Charlie Zahn - MPSAR (2017

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 1000 Hours:
Tyler Deboodt

Over 500 Hours:
Robin Ehrhardt
Jacob Holcombe
Russ Ruby
Scott Smith
Anna Pakenham Stevenson

Over 250 Hours:
Sarah Bates
Sean Huber
Chris McCammon
Bea VanHorne
David Vesely
Meg Walker