By Richard WengerMarion County Search and Rescue Team 18, is a youth program. Membership starts at the age of 14 and up join Team 18. They are one of seven search and rescue teams that provide experienced and highly trained members that serve the community of Marion County and surrounding areas. Teens come volunteer through the sheriff office with Team 18, and find things they never done or seen before.
“I’ve found out about Team 18 in the newspaper. I started volunteering my freshmen year in high school, and I’m still with them. I joined because I wanted to help others in need and make new friends and learn new things. I encourage others to join,” said Aubrey Fear.
“Team 18 has a eight month academy that runs from September to April, we teach wilderness First Aid and CPR,” said Fear. “During the academy we teach our members how to survive, and kind of give them an idea of what a victim goes through when lost.” Six months may seem like a long time, but for Aubrey Fear and Shelby Reece they enjoy their time.
“I joined Team 18 my freshmen year in high school. I joined to better my First Aid due to wanting to become a nurse,” said Shelby Reece. “You would’ve known better,” is search and rescue favorite quote to say when someone does something and finds out later that they would’ve not done it. Everyone in Team 18 considers each other as a second family. They look out for each and everyone.
“Being part of the team, you will learn the fears that every member has,” said Aubrey. “You will know what the team’s weakness is.” “Search and Rescue is an amazing activity. I get to participate in things that I would never have been able to do otherwise,” said Reece. Some searches they participate in are evidence to lost or injured hikers, and car accidents. Those who stay with the team become team leaders, learn, and the hours they put in lead to finding jobs.
“I like being involved with the searches and being in the know,” says Shelby Reece. “ I’m working on my fourth year in Team 18.” One thing training members find hard is tracking. Tracking is a process of three trained trackers. Only those who take the advance tracking course are certified. Shelby took the advance training with another member and were certified as trackers. A training that the teams love to do is advance survival, when they prove that they can survive multiples days in the field. Traps are built, shelter and fire are built. And friendships are made.


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