VERNON COUNTY, Mo. — A scary motor vehicle crash turned into a search and rescue in Vernon County back in August. And now — after a team effort by first responders — some recognition comes their way for their life-saving efforts.
“A lot of times we see the bad, but we also see the good. When we see the good, that reminds us why we’re doing this,” said Lt. Lloyd Gibson, Compton Junction Fire Department.
It was early in the morning on August 20th — when the call came in about a car crash that sent the driver off the road into a rural area of Vernon County.
But — this wasn’t a typical vehicle crash.
“Upon arrival on to the scene, I was unable to locate anybody at that time. I rigorously searched on foot for over an hour, before I requested mutual aid from the local police department, see if they can provide an officer to help with the search,” said Deputy Tristen Foster, Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.
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“It was pretty stressful, knowing that the deputy has already been searching for over an hour unable to locate the victim. I just kind of had doubts on finding the victim,” said Officer Calvin Gish, Nevada Police Department.
While racing the clock in the dark — more officials and volunteers responded to help locate this victim — searching in difficult terrain.
And behind the scene — the county’s dispatch center was maintaining a constant line of communication — providing support for both the person involved and the first responders.
“A search an rescue in general is high stress. I you don’t have communication, you’re not going to get it done efficiently and efficient time – time is everything in those cases. In most cases, not just search and rescues, time is everything. So, our communication does play a big factor in how fast they’re going to respond to these calls,” said Jadeann Highley, Communications Officer, Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.
After over an hour — the victim was located in the vehicle. And now — these five first responders are being honored with the Life Saver Award — from the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.
And they tell me — the search was a complete team effort — something they say is crucial.
“It impacts everybody. It’s all about the skill. I mean, getting to that search and rescue, we all go to training. We train over various duties, there’s not many of us and we’re fighting structure fires, wrecks, search an rescues, all that,” said Tyler Kimzey, Assistant Fire Chief, Compton Junction Fire Department.
“It was a big relief when we got to her. I had a lot of concerns, especially any possible medical injuries with the amount of time that had passed, injuries can become worse as time goes,” said Gibson.