Earlier this week a volunteer Search and Rescue squad found a missing Boy Scout in the North Carolina woods and the incident shed light on the importance of such teams.
Warren County's Rescue Squad is made up strictly of volunteers. Over the past two years, the team has been called out on over 200 different missions. These people manage to balance their regular jobs, families, and intense rescue training. Andy Tucker is one of them.
He's a service writer at Tri-State International Trucks, but at any moment he could be called on to save someone's life. Tucker has been in emergency service for many years and is currently the chief of the Warren County Rescue Squad.
"I grew up with it. Ever since I was probably 13, I've been associated with some type of emergency service organization," Tucker said.
Tucker is just one of 30 volunteers on Warren County's Rescue Squad. Being a volunteer rescue worker can mean getting a call at any time, day or night, and have to drop whatever its is they're doing.
"It could be two o'clock in the morning raining. It could be dark. That's when we actually get calls. At two in the morning when its raining and dark. Those cases I think make the job more interesting," he noted.
That can mean searching for people for days on end.
"When we get called out, the volume there is, we're prepared to stay 8 hours up to 24 hours and sometimes several days," Tucker said.
The searches can lead to emotional highs and lows for these rescuers.
"We've got 6 hours into a search and we find that person, its a wonderful feeling. We get 2 hours into that search and we find that person, its a wonderful feeling. We get 6 days into a search and find that the person's deceased, it does bring a little bit of morale down on the department."
Its a personal sacrifice that Rescue Squad Vice President Deborah Williams said is a "gift from the heart".
"This is one of those situations where they do it because its needed. They do it cause its the right thing to do and its public service that very few people want to do," Tucker said.
Tucker also said the job gives him the joy to know he's helping his fellow man. The volunteer organization has one of the only fully-functional dive teams, along with the Barren County Rescue Squad, for water searches.
To learn more about the Warren County Rescue Department click here.