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Desert Group Search and Rescue Volunteer, Inc.

 I would like to comment on the Desert Group Search and Rescue Volunteer safety grant.  While this grants asks for quite a bit of money, every bit of it is to be used for search and rescue of motorized recreation.  This group needs all that they ask for.  I hope this grant can be funded to the fullest extent possible so that they can carry out their mission. [Ed Stovin, CORVA - 3/30/10]

 I am on the Board of Directors for the Antelope Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. I am also the Director of Communications and a volunteer instructor and instructor trainer. I have been a vollunteer with the RC for over 15 years. I have direct Emergency Management experience with the city of Baldwin Park, where as a Police Officer i was appointed onto our disaster mgmnt team. I also have several years of direct emergency mgmnt experience with the Dept of Defense as a DOD Payed civilian employee at Edwards AF Base. I was medically retired from my police officer job and live off off my retirenment. This leaves me time to teach for the RC.

I recently had occassion to meet 20 members of the Desert SAR group, who took an extensive 53 hour EMEGENCY RESPONSE / FIRST RESPONDER COURSE i tought for them. It was an eye opening experience to say the least! I will leave the stats for you listed on their grant request, but felt compelled to right a note to you urging you to grant their acquisition[?] request. I tried leaving this note on the OHV web site but found nowhere to do so, although i did find their data as forth / Desert Group Search and Rescue vollunteer INC. / Agency 77-0360048 / Project A

Let me first say that they have an immense job and cover what i believe to be thousands of square miles. In affiliation with the Kern Cty Sheriff Dept, they serve 100,s of thousand OHV,ers that frequent the area for its riding opportunities. As a resident of ROSAMOND [their area of responsibility], and an off road rider with my daughter, we highly appreciate their vollunteer efforts. I know many of the rider/residents that have a tremendous rapour with this group and are happy they are out there. To be frank, they do in a timely fashion what the police department and other agencies they serve cant. They SAVE LIVES. However, their supplies are running low, their equipment is out of date [ most of it ] they are getting ready to go from wideband to narrowband on their radio system per FCC regulation, which will leave them with FAR FEWER RADIOS THEN THEY NEED TO DO THE JOB.

For instance, during our class, i instructed them on the use and manipulation/procedure for backboarding/airlifting a patient.[ They interact with rescue helicopters on frequent occassions] Their backboard was haggard and the straps were to me, unsevicable. This was the type of board used to HELICOPTER/AIRLIFT a person out of hazardous/rough terrain. [ I read in their grant request that they say it is serviceable,,,poppycock, they are merely trying to make their equipment last to the final end so as to keep the value of their monetary requests dowen to a minimum! This shows me that they APPRECIATE the grant money, and arent, like the fed gov sometimes does, "getting all we can before someone else does". They do use extra supports so there is no danger using the equipment,but it is haggard and this honerable group shouldnt have to use extra secure straps.

Here is an instance for you of a deserving group. While teaching the bandaging/splinting portion of the course, it came up as to who,s supplies we would use, the Red Cross, or did they want their members becoming familiar with the materials carried on their rescue quads. It was decided to use their supplies, as they had a whole bunch that were OUT OF DATE OR BECOMING OUT OF DATE. During the course we used a package containing a combination COLD PACK/BANDAGE. I had never seen this type package and asked where they had obtained them. The answer shocked me. THE 99 CENT STORE!!!!!Every once in a while the 99 cent store has these packs in stock. Memebers use their own time and money checking individual stores on a regular basis in hopes of getting lucky and "scoring" these nifty little packs. A comparable combo pack usualy goes for about 5 times that amount.

NOW TELL ME THIS, IS THIS THE TYPE OF GROUP THAT DESERVES YOUR GRANT MONEY? I would hope so. They really seem to value the dollar.

I also read they are asking a great deal of money for a large UAV [ AS DESCRIBED TO ME, A 6 SEAT QUAD TYPE THING THAT HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO CARRY A LITTER/BACKBOARDED PATIENT THRU THE ROUGHEST TERRAIN]. The need for this machine was explained to me via the use of a map on the wall. One of the members showed me their areas of responsibility,and where they are expected to go. Rough doesnt even begin to describe it. They will use this UAV to transport a critical patient in a timely fashion to the nearest landing zone or road, some of which are more then 20 miles i believe from helicopterable landing zones or places where an ambulance can get to. They are also asking for a couple sets of OXYGEN ADMINISTRATION UNITS[ of which during the class they were shown how and when to use, hands on with real O2 equipment. This O2 materialle can and will im sure reduce the severity of ongoing injury, and or lesson long term implications from extreme injury. Itruly believe  the UAV is going to be a life saving piece of equipment along with the oxygen. It is my opinion they really really need these items.

Radio gear could be classified as one of the most importasnt things an emergency group can have. No comms, no coordinated response, thats it,end of story. Unfortunately, some members have had to buy their own very expensive comm gear, and it will soon be outdated per FCC regulations on the type of emmision.[i wont bore you with the specs ha ha ha, but it renders older gear illegal to broadcast with] I looked at their comm gear request on the grant, and they are requesting the ABSOLTE MINIMUM TO DO THE JOB. Im serious, there aint no fluff going on here, they are truley a THRIFY and realistic group when it comes to funding AND BEING ABLE TO CONTINUE THEIR DUTIES. [Please read the grant request for all that they really do, it may surprise you,, it did me!]

I have first hand knowledge of this group and the proffessionalism in which they carry out their duties. Recently an amateur radio operator that owns a high level repeater that i use got stuck at the 6000ft level trying to get to his repeater site. After 9 hours he could not free his vehicle and became panicky in white out snow conditions. I was listening and talking to him via radio. Guess who had to be called after the sheriffs attempted a truly half ass [ excuse me but thats what it was] attempt at getting him and got stuck them selves?Well im sure you know....He told me he was never so happy to see a group of people in all his life. Now imagine a motorcyclist who goes down and is severely injured. Lets say it was MY DAUGHTER. Even with all MY training, i would step back and let this group do their job. Now thats a powerfull statement coming from a dad, but i have seen their true dedication, member areas of expertise, equipment of expertise[degrading  rapidly and NEEDS TO BE EXPANDED] and all around real sense of duty, and capability.

Can you imagine 20 people signed up for this very expensive class given by me through the Red Cross, and not one person missed a class. I didnt even have a member be late!!In fact,during the time change recently,I WAS AN HOUR LATE.I remember driving ther at about 60mph praying i wasnt the only one late. Nope,they were ALL on time,how embarrassing ha ha ha . I cought a little for that move but it was all in good fun and in good taste!!In my 15 years of teaching,i have never seen this!seriously. That shows a lot also. If you think a 53 hour first responder course is easy,your mistaken. It is hands on,interactive,and at times very gruelling. Not once did i hear a single complaint. They were all, to a T, enthusiastic and really wanted to be there. I can only take this to mean that they place much value and importance in their vollunterism, their Search and Rescue Duties, and their INTEGRITY.

They were easily the best group i have ever tought that was this size. In fact, they now are looking into me teaching them to be instructors in this first responder course. Getting the instructor rating is no small feat, believe me. All on their own time.

After interacting with them for more then 53 hours, i can honestly say they blow away any of our Red Cross groups with expertise in this particular area. This statement hurts me to say but the truth is the truth.

I wrote this in plain english and specifically in a "non proffessional" way to stress the fact that im not representing the red cross, im representing a single father who rides with his daughter, and is pleased and proud to know that this group is out there. I have real world expertise in this area on the city and federal level, and am just plain impressed beyond expectations with the group and their dedication. To sum it up, i feel safe knowing they are in service, i feel competent in their expertise, and most of all i didnt see any "wanna bees" like i have seen in other groups such as this one. They are very diverse with diverse skills. In fact they are more competent then most AGENCIES i have seen.[i wont name them :} ]

In closing: Please consider their grant request with the additional "outsider"info and personal thoughts i have given you. I wrote this because i felt they could use the support from someone with the same expertise at the city and fed government level. They are thrifty as demonstrated by the 99 cent store shopping and minimal[in my opinion]request for equipment. Their requests are not "new toys" they are considered life saving gear and treated as such. They are squared away,their headquarters is outstanding and most of all they are continually training and refreshing. I understand they even have some members going thru EMT school on their own dime and time! Thats the type of people and group i want out looking for me if lost,or treating me if injured.

Thank you for your time. Sorry this was so long but there were several issues that needed discussing especially in this very very important grant request. If they are granted the rquested monies, rest assured it will be spent wisely and in the best interest of the people you and they serve. It is my opinion that not granting their request would be in violation of the public trust. I told my director about this particular group. If you like you can reach her at 661-267-0640. [Pat Jasper - 3/31/10]

 Everyone asking for Grant money does it with honorable intentions to manage our public lands , provide sustainable recreation and protect resources.  I agree with all of that and am not one to say "do not fund"  but there are exceptions from my point of view. 
In reviewing these grants for 2009/2010  It it is alarming how the % of actual work on the ground changes from one agency to another.  From experience I would like to see no more than 5% of the grant request for staff under Ground Operation go to management.   The key to sustainable recreation on our public lands are for our grant money to be spent on the ground.  
Every single grantee should be preaching "Stay on Designated Trail"   regardless what your job is, it is the responsibility of every person involved with OHV that this message has to pushed.
Every single grantee should encourage those that are law abiding citizens to put pressure on the "Willfully Ignorant" to change their way so that we can have a "Sustainable OHV recreation"  for future generations. 
Lastly I want to thank every single person involved in working on  OHV recreation for your time and dedication . [Ed Waldheim "OHV activist for access to public lands for all" - 3/28/10]

 Grant Application 2009-10 Project # G09-04-09-S01 Agency – Desert Group Search and Rescue Volunteer, Inc.

I write this to urge you to provide continued support for the Desert Group Search and Rescue (DGSR) Team’s efforts. 
My husband, a 40+ year veteran dirt bike rider, has seen a lot over the years and knows how quickly a ride can go bad and a novice become lost in the desert.   The desert is unforgiving.

My husband and I go out to Dove Springs OHV every weekend we can and as cell phone reception is practically non-existent,  we ride by the DGSR base camp site every time to see if the group is stationed there.    Their presence gives us and other riders the knowledge that assistance is close at hand.   We have witnessed the group in search of a rider or riders who have been reported missing.    We have seen the helicopters they called coming in to take out an injured rider.    We have seen how their work saves lives in an environment where survival can be measured in minutes.

My hope was to never avail myself of their services.   Nevertheless, in September, 2009 I was glad they were close at hand.  On September 5th I sustained a grade 3 separation of my right shoulder and found myself the beneficiary of the DGSR team talents.  From the moment they arrived on site, they were nothing but professional.   The DGSR team stabilized my shoulder so well that the Hospital Emergency Physician left their sling intact.   They took care not just of me but my husband as well by ensuring that he was well informed and comforted that I was in good hands. 

Until the support of the green sticker program, the Desert Group Search and Rescue team’s resources were limited by the financial means of the participants. Your grant monies have gone, and with your ongoing support will continue, to give the Team the communication and response tools to be more effective in desert search and rescue.  

The Desert Group Search and Rescue Team provide not only a needed service but also a calming stability to a sometimes unstable and unsupervised recreation area.   If my husband and I had a say in it, we would have members of the team out every weekend during riding season.   We highly support funding their program.

I, for one, cannot thank them enough for their work! [C.Feichter - 3/28/10]

 Well at first you think, wow  $177,000 but then look at the details in the cost estimate. This group of 42 volunteers with over 350 years of Search and rescue experience to draw from and all as volunteers, Yes, that is the most amazing part. These 42 individuals donate their time , equipment, and expertise to help those in need. This is one amazing group.  Because they have gone way beyond the call of duty, they are asking for supplies, equipment to transport the injured and trailer where they can store and help the injured.  With the approval of this we could call this the "Mash Dispensary of our time"  in East Kern and wherever else they are needed.  Congratulations to all of you for a job well done. I fully support this grant.  [Ed Waldheim "OHV activist for access to the public lands for all" - 3/28/10]