(Gallatin County, Mont.) Monday was a typical start of summer day. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Volunteers from all over Gallatin County going about their business, working or getting ready for a family day on the 4th. At 6:03 P.M. pagers go off for a rescue on the Castle Rock Trail just inside the Gallatin Canyon: a 29 year old man from Tennessee has collapsed on the trail. Search and Rescue Deputies were the first to respond. They are typically on duty and have skills to gather information, coordinate resources and direct the volunteers. In this case the emergency was in an area where both responders from the Big Sky Division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue and the Valley Division were sent on the call, setting up a race of sorts where the patient is the winner. Communications in that area of the county are poor and the Deputies have their hands full trying to gather information and communicate direction. Rescuers from the Gateway Fire Dept. and AMR Ambulance arrive first and started up the trail. The patient was stable but needed a ride down the trail and a trip to the hospital. Now all they wait for is a wheeled litter, a kind of super stretcher with one big wheel designed for trail use. There are several wheeled litters in the county but they are on trucks coming from the Fairgrounds and Big Sky.
Along comes Taylor Green, a young, fit, back country savvy veteran of SAR who owns Square One Welding & Fabrication at Four Corners. For months now he has not been satisfied with the weight and stability of the wheeled litters used by SAR. In his spare time he has been designing, engineering and fabricating a better one in his shop. It just so happens his prototype was in his truck and he was closer than the Rescuers coming from Big Sky and the Valley. Up the trail he and a couple other SAR volunteers go. Light, easy to handle and suited for the trail, the new litter goes along on it’s first real deployment. A little while later the Rescuers, patient and litter emerge from the trees. The rescuers are smiling and so is the patient.
Sheriff Gootkin said, “I am always proud and amazed at the skills our volunteers are willing to share with this community. From world class rescue and search skills to the constant desire to do better for our citizens and visitors. We are so fortunate to have such a diverse and skilled team. It doesn’t matter what the problem is there is someone in SAR that is an expert. These people dedicate their time and skill to support the outdoor lifestyle this community values.” Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to 134 incidents in 2016. 66% of those rescued were Gallatin County Residents. #####