Scroll Of Service

Memorializing Lives

The Scroll of Service was established in 2014 to memorialize the lives of individuals who gave significant service to search and rescue in British Columbia.

Ken Sandberg

Campbell River Search and Rescue
August 29, 1948 – July 7, 2006

About Ken

Ken was a driving force within the Campbell River SAR group, a team leader, SAR Manager, executive member and accomplished rope rescue team leader.

Ken had a passion for GSAR and helping people. Ken loved the outdoors and was always organizing group hikes and adventures; he traveled the world and took great photos along the way.

Ken was motivated to make the way Campbell River SAR functioned as a group better.
He spearheaded executive changes that streamlined process and made the running of the group a more transparent and democratic process.

Ken loved to teach and was a GSAR/GSTL instructor who loved to share his knowledge with new recruits. His abilities in the field put much younger guys to shame and we all strived to keep up with Ken on calls.

Ken was first to sign up for projects, fundraising and adventure and dedicated his time unselfishly. Tragically Ken had to participate in the search for his own son when he went missing and was never found after falling overboard on a fishing trip.

Ken rose above the tragedy and continued to serve the people of British Columbia until his own tragic sudden death at work, killed in a mining accident.

Ken left behind a wife from a recent marriage, two daughters and grandchildren. Ken’s legacy and presence is still felt amongst us in Campbell River and we miss him.

Peter Relkoff

Cranbrook Search and Rescue
October 22 2012

About Peter

Peter was an enthusiastic and courageous man with a life that had two true passions, family and volunteering.

A founding member of Cranbrook SAR, Peter Relkoff served for 36 years until he passed away on October 22, 2012.

He was incredibly passionate about search and rescue and highway rescue. Peter was the lead of the Cranbrook/Kimberley rope rescue team and taught rope rescue for the local college fire services training program, along with being the search manager on many searches.

He was a well-known volunteer within community organizations including, Fernie Ski patrol until 1980, Cranbrook Ambulance Association and the Chamber of Commerce tourist information booth.

Peter’s hobbies included wood working, hiking, gardening and talking to people. He touched many lives.

Roland Webb

Coquitlam Search and Rescue
September 2, 1975 — January 17, 2013

About Roland

Rollie was a member of Coquitlam SAR since 2002. Prior to joining Coquitlam SAR, he was a member of Salt Spring Island SAR (which he joined while posted there as a Paramedic), Surrey SAR and Lions Bay SAR. He was what is sometimes affectionately called “a lifer”.

GSAR members are known for wanting to help others, but some people just go the extra mile and Rollie was one of those. He did the basic stuff that we all do, and then he went further. Since his day job was as a paramedic he immediately became a driving force in the team’s medical preparedness.

He taught many first responder courses, and added in AED training, O2 therapy, and taught us how to assist him if he needed to deliver IV Fluids or other medical procedures.

I spent many hours being taught by him over the years. Many newer members of the team know Rollie as one of their GSAR trainers, and fondly remember his mentorship.

Gord Sweeting

Prince Rupert, Terrace, Cranbrook SAR
February 16, 2013

About Gord

Gord passed away at his home in Fort Steele, B.C. on, February 16th, 2013 at the age of 64 years, following a long and courageous battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

Gordon was born in Gull Lake, Sask., was with the Armed Forces for a few years then a radio technician with the RCMP, as a civilian member.

He was posted at Prince Rupert; Terrace, and Cranbrook, B.C. for over 20 years before having to take a medical discharge due to the MS.

Gord was very active in search and rescue, both locally and provincially and was one of the authors of the original ground search and rescue training manual.

Tim Jones

North Shore Rescue
May 30, 1956 — January 19, 2014

About Tim

Tim Jones was a BC Ambulance Paramedic and a long time member of North Shore Rescue. At the time of his death, of heart attack while hiking with his daughter on Mount Seymour, he had been the team leader and spokesperson for North Shore Rescue for many years.

To members of the public he was the visible face of search and rescue for the Vancouver area, appearing on the media regularly to represent the team during rescues, for fundraising and advocacy work.

Tim was a pioneer of the helicopter Long Line rescue system known as “HETS”, adopting it within his team, and promoting it as a vital life saving tool that saved time and brought lost and injured people home and to medical care quickly, and with little risk.

His work at making this rescue technique available to GSAR members saved many lives and will continue to do so on the many GSAR teams throughout BC that have adopted it as a rescue technique.

Tim received the Order of British Columbia in 2011

Tim’s death shook the GSAR community, leaving a huge hole on our ranks. His memorial ceremony was attended by thousands of people, and GSAR members from across BC and Canada attended in a processional over a kilometre long. He was a force for change, and he saved many lives.

North Shore Rescue has set up a fund in Tim’s honour.

Robin McArthur

Hope Volunteer Search and Rescue

About Robin

Robin was born in Princeton but lived most of his life in Hope. He worked for many different companies doing mechanical work, specializing in wiring, and finishing his career working for his own company, All 4 Services. he also spend a few years as the mechanics and metal work teacher at Hope Secondary School.

He was honoured to be a member of Hope Volunteer Search and Rescue for 40 years where he served as a director for 30 years. He was always willing to learn and to pass on his knowledge and experiences to other members.

He specialized in auto extrication, boat rescues and as a SAR manager. He also really enjoyed his time working with the discovery channel on Highway Thru Hell. Robin loved everything that included family. He was a real family man.

We all loved Robin for all that he did for us over the years. He was an amazing mechanic and problem solver but most of all a great teacher and an inspiration to all of us. To this day we still use all that he taught us in life. He made is all part of what we are today.

Robin McArthur
You can smile because he life,
You can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
You can be full of the love that you shared,
You can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Thank you and God bless Robin and you all.

Mark Salesse

Comox Ground Search and Rescue
SAR Tech CDN Armed Forces
February 2015

About Mark

Mark “Sal” Salesse joined Comox Valley GSAR in the spring of 2005 after completion of his SAR tech training and subsequent posting to 442 SQN. He was a humble man, always quick with a smile and never very far away from a food source.

Even though he brought a considerable skill set to our team, Mark thought of everyone as an equal. A giant in both stature and spirit he adopted the men and women of CVGSAR as his extended family. He took the time to get to know each one of us, devoting time with a great sense of humor, to draw out the very best in everyone around him.

Inevitably, Mark was posted to 444 Combat Support Squadron in Goose Bay Labrador in 2009 and finally 435 Squadron Transport and Rescue Squadron in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Not one to let distance get in the way, he always stayed in touch and would show up unannounced at weekly training nights whenever he was back in the Valley. During these times, Mark helped to forge a stronger relationship between 442 Sqn and CVGSAR, involving us in many unique and ambitious training events.

Mark died doing what he loved most, living the life of a SAR tech, and training in the Rockies. An avalanche swept him away during a Canadian Forces Training mission near Banff in February of 2015, leaving behind him a legacy of compassion, humbleness and excellence for others to aspire.

Comox Valley GSAR will forever mourn the loss of not only an excellent teammate, but a dear friend as well.

Flynn Lamont

Coquitlam Search and Rescue, Acting Battalion Chief, Vancouver Fire Rescue
October 2015

About Flynn

Flynn Lamont, fire fighter with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, volunteer with Canada Task Force 1 (Vancouver) Heavy Urban Search and Rescue, dog handler of Barkley (2009), Cooper (2014) and Huddleston and valued member of Coquitlam Search and Rescue. Flynn passed away at home in the early hours of October 29th of pancreatic cancer.

In a room full of dedicated, skilled and caring people Flynn stood out. His job was rescuing people, but that was not enough. He took on additional roles as a dog handler, and as a volunteer rescuer in both heavy urban SAR and ground SAR. He and his dogs, highly trained at tracking and searching for people, objects and cadavers, were deployed to many of the high-profile disasters and tasks in Canada and beyond including the response to Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 mudslide in North Vancouver and the Highway of Tears/Missing Women’s Task Force.

Flynn also dedicated his time and energy to Coquitlam Search and Rescue as a ground SAR member. Many of us remember him for his quiet skill, biting wit, deep playful nature, and abiding love of his dogs who accompanied him everywhere. Flynn was memorable, and widely known in the rescue community throughout BC as well as in classrooms where he gave presentations on safety to school aged children. Flynn brought with him his professional experience and knowledge from other areas of rescue to the team.

While the dogs were not always part of a SAR task or training, they were always with him. Flynn would take the time to let them blow off steam and it was an incredible sight to see him and two dogs rolling around in the grass with abandon, three happy beings just playing around. Flynn would say if you’re not rolling around on the ground with the dogs, you’re doing it wrong.

It is never an easy thing to loose a member of your family. Even while Flynn announced his illness he continued training with Coquitlam SAR. The team will remember his kindness and generosity, his loopy sense of humour, his professionalism towards all things related to rescue, and his dedication to his dogs. We were lucky to have you on our team.

Obituary in the Province
Barkley, 2009
Globe and Mail article in 2006

Raymond Oliver Roy, CD (CPO2 Retired)

Campbell River Search and Rescue
March 2018

About Raymond

Raymond Oliver Roy, CD (CPO2 Retired) a prairie boy who became a sailor, a seeker of challenges and an adventurer, who loved his family above all, passed away on March 27, 2018.

A man who threw himself into experiencing life. His presence will be missed by his family. His much loved wife Mary, his children Caleb (Mistee), Tosca (Ryan & granddaughter Avery) and Lukas (Gabrielle).

His siblings Rene (Heather) and Loretta. The Payne family and their spouses, and his many nieces and nephews on both sides. He missed his parents – Tryntje and Lionel – who passed before him.

Raymond was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, 21 June 1956. He served in the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Navy where he spent most of his career as an Electrical Maritime Technician. A life that took him around the world with his loyal companion and rubber chicken – Mort.

He loved the Navy and being at sea. He was, rightly, proud of his service. He continued to assist others after retirement, as an active member of the Campbell River Volunteer Search and Rescue.

Raymond brought an intense passion to everything he took on – reconstructing Land Rovers, making ancient armour, scuba diving or researching family history. He acquired deep practical skills that made him the go-to-person for family and friends.

Donations can be made in his memory to Campbell River Search and Rescue.

Ole Edliq

Comox Valley Search and Rescue
September 11, 2018

About Ole

Everyone who knew Ole recognised his dedication to Search and Rescue.

A Life Member of both North Shore and Comox Valley GSAR Teams, Ole was an avid searcher and tracker, responding to hundreds of calls throughout the province in his 42 years as a SAR member.

He was awarded the BC PEP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 and was a member of the BCSARA Training Committee.

Clive Giolma

Kamloops Search and Rescue
October 31, 1945 – November 28, 2018

About Clive

Clive Giolma, a long-time member of Kamloops Search and Rescue (KSAR), passed away on November 28, 2018, after a long battle with cancer.

Clive completed his ground search and rescue certification as part of KSAR in 1999. In addition to GSAR, Clive was a member of the rope rescue team and was certified to operate all our off-road vehicles.

For many years he was also very active as a member of KSAR’s board of directors, helping steer us to where we are today. He never hesitated to step up and help wherever he was needed and teammates knew they were in good hands when they were on his team.

True to form, when Clive was diagnosed as terminal his concern was how he could continue to contribute to KSAR for as long as he could. He continued to attend meetings, trainings and tasks as often as possible, and he continued to be involved with AdventureSmart through much of 2018.

Clive did everything for the right reasons and never enjoyed attention or praise for his volunteer work. A selfless and humble advocate for both the outdoors and safety, Clive helped bring adventure safety messaging in Kamloops through regular presentations and talks to a variety of groups.

His impact in this capacity was felt by many. A memorable task for many on the team was when two teenagers were rescued near Sun Peaks. Both were feeling the impacts of having been out in the cold for many hours, but when rescued took the time to mention Clive by name, saying they knew what to do because of him.

Under the AdventureSmart umbrella, Clive helped coordinate many class and group presentations and personally presented to more than 84 groups and reached more than 6,200 children and adults in the Kamloops area, the fourth highest number of presentations in the province as of June 2018. He was recognized by AdventureSmart for his work with the program in the summer of 2018.

In addition to KSAR, Clive, a retired firefighter, served as a regional director with the BC Search and Rescue Association, was a member of the Kamloops Hiking Club and Kamloops Outdoor Club.

A link to Clive’s Obituary

Bob Kelly

EMBC North East Regional Manager
October 21, 1949 – September 22, 2019

About Bob

As a Regional Manager with EMBC for over 30 years Bob went above and beyond in supporting all Public Safety Lifeline Volunteers. In the same spirit as volunteers he always did whatever possible to save live and reduce suffering without any thought of personal cost or recognition.

Bob ensured that search and rescue was considered an emergency within the provincial response system, during large or complex SAR incidents in the region he would activate the Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre (PREOC) to provide support. His innovations within emergency management transcended into GSAR, organizing conferences calls with all agencies involved on a seasonal hazard preparedness basis and during responses resulted in greatly improved cooperation.

Following a large search years ago Bob developed and shared a trip plan to help promote outdoor safety. This trip plan became a standard that was later incorporated into the AdventureSmart program, now adopted across Canada and elsewhere. Although Bob suffered a traumatic workplace injury in 2015 he always voiced concern about the volunteers and those they strive to save, rather than his own condition.

Wayne Merry

Atlin SAR
August 4, 1931 – October 30, 2019

About Wayne

In 1958, Wayne Merry and his two partners climbed their way into the history books with the first ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

Over 1000 meters of vertical granite, the climb took months and the magnitude of the accomplishment is likened to the first ascent of Mt. Everest.

Originally considered impossible, Merry and his group pioneered new techniques and equipment that changed the face of mountaineering, big-wall climbing and high-altitude rescues.

In 2008, for the 50th anniversary of the first ascent, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the accomplishment and honouring the parties involved. It is widely considered the most famous climb in history.

Though undeniably a great achievement, it is only one aspect of a remarkable life that has been devoted to the service of community, the greater society and the environment. Shortly after the climb on ‘El Cap’, Merry took a job with the Park Ranger Service and frequently volunteered to aide in high-risk, high-altitude rescues.

Noticing a growing need for rescue services in the park and heightening tensions between climbers and park rangers, Merry founded the Yosemite Mountaineering School and later formed an organization called YoSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue).

YoSAR’s aim was to combine the skills of the park rangers and top climbers. It quickly became a training ground for some of the world’s most advanced search and rescue personnel and pioneered many search and rescue techniques practised today.

The organization has saved thousands of lives over its storied 60-year existence, performing an average of 200+ rescues annually. It is considered one of the greatest Search and Rescue organizations in the world.

Though a great organizational leader, Merry was not one to sit behind a desk. He has been involved in hundreds of rescues some of which have been recorded in the pages of adventure literature.

In 1962, he descended hundreds of feet on the Lost Arrow in the middle of the night in a snowstorm to rescue two stranded climbers whose ropes had frozen to the wall. He stayed with them until morning when a winch could be set up to bring them all out (Death, Daring and Disaster, 251).

In 1963, Merry jumped from a helicopter onto a knife-edge arrêt to rescue a fallen climber; risking his life and pioneering the use of helicopters in high-altitude rescues (Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite).

In 1970, Merry spent another night in the frigid cold to rescue a climber who had fallen and shattered his leg. It was so cold Merry feared the Demerol might freeze in the needle before he could inject the injured party. Merry stayed with the injured party until he could be lifted to safety. Ronald Reagan witnessed the daring rescue from the bottom of the Valley (Big Walls, Swift Waters, 123).

Merry received various Superior Performance Awards from the National Park Service during his time there for his focus on ensuring safety of the public and natural environment. In 1997, he received an Achievement award recognizing his service to Search and Rescue in Canada and again in 2000, he received an Achievement award for his lifelong service to search and rescue in Canada from the National Search and Rescue Secretariat of Canada.

Aside from his SAR activities, Merry also looked to create opportunities for the general population to experience the natural environment.

He started the 1 st Cross-country Ski School in the Western United States, and instituted the Nordic Holiday Race, which is still considered one of the most prestigious races in North America.

He is credited with popularizing cross-country skiing in Western North America and received an award from the Far West Ski Association to that effect.

Merry moved to Canada and settled in Atlin, British Columbia in 1974. Shortly before his arrival, a mother and three children died in a house fire, so Merry organized the building of a new firehall and became the volunteer Fire Chief. He held the position for ten years. There has never been another fire-related death in Atlin. He also took on the roles as the first official Unit Head of the British Columbia Ambulance Service for the region and became the Area Coordinator for the Provincial Emergency Program and later a Deputy BC Fire Marshall. He took on the Presidency of the Atlin Historical Society and received a communications award from the Canadian Senate for his effort. For all these roles he received little or no remuneration. Over this time, Merry taught search and rescue and first aid training courses across the North, while participating in countless rescues. In 1993, Merry received a service award from St. John’s Ambulance.

In 2012, Merry received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal presented by the Governor General of Canada in recognition to his ‘contributions to Canada’.

Merry wrote the landmark Official Wilderness First Aid Guide (McClelland and Stuart, 1993), which sold 20 000 copies, making it a Canadian best-seller and influencing first aid throughout the country. It was published in the United States and translated into German. During this time, Merry persuaded the Yukon Emergency Measures Organization to start a Search and Rescue training program, which quickly became the primary training ground for Emergency Organization volunteers in the territories, RCMP officers, Parks Canada employees and Canadian Rangers.

Merry trained thousands of personnel in ground search and rescue techniques, survival and wilderness first aid.

Realizing the need for more Northern and rural-community relevant search and rescue literature, Merry wrote and self-published the Basic Ground SAR Training Manual. It became the manual for EMO Yukon and the Northwest Territories and a generic edition found great success across Canada.

He never sought financial remuneration for the manual and has always maintained free access for everyone. In 1996, Merry cofounded the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) and wrote their mission statement. Wayne was presented with the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Safety Lifeline Volunteers in 2006 by Emergency Management British Columbia for his dedication to the betterment of Ground Search and Rescue.

In 2011, Merry formed the Protect Atlin Lake Society (PALS) that worked to halt a hydro-generation project on Atlin Lake that would have negatively impacted Atlin Provincial Park (229 894 hectares) and the cultural significance of the area and traditional activities of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation. PALS successfully deterred the establishment of the project and enshrined protection of the Park and surroundings.

It is difficult to recount all the ways in which Merry has impacted Canadian lives. From the miniscule; popularizing coloured webbing and rope (a mainstay in climbing and rescue equipment), to the majuscule; writing the standards for Search and Rescue and Wilderness First Aid in Canada. The lives Merry has saved directly or indirectly number in the thousands, if not the tens of thousands.

Everywhere Wayne Merry has been he has made the world around him better: safer and more enjoyable. He has a knack for seeing what is missing and working to fill that need. There were many opportunities to seek profit from his exploits, but he chose service to his community instead.

He didn’t chase fame and fortune but worked tirelessly to better the lives of those around him. He has never sought recognition and it is only through advocation by those whose lives he has affected that he has received his myriad awards.

He embodies all the things that make Canada a great country; sacrifice, service and the betterment of others. He is a great person, a great Canadian, and deserves recognition of the highest order.

Nick Van Helsdingen

Central Cariboo SAR
April 5, 2020

About Nick

Nick served with Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) for over 10 years with enthusiasm, and a great sense of humour. He was dedicated, up for any task, and a great mentor to new members.

To share a small example for the thoughtful and kind man Nick was and the effect he had on all, is a small story. A couple of years ago, 3 new members of CCSAR needed to complete their ground search and rescue overnighter.

Nick immediately offered up his property for use, and to supervise. The members successfully completed the overnighter, and were delightfully surprised in the morning, when Nick brought them into his home, and had prepared a full course breakfast. He positively spoiled these members. The meal was large enough, and delicious enough, to rival that of a 5-star buffet.

Little did Nick know; his act of kindness started a trend. Before he passed, CCSAR members continued on his act, by making the next group of members who completed their overnighter, breakfast in the morning.

The show of respect and care, is beyond touching for all members involved, and is a tradition that will continue within CCSAR. Furthermore, you can not enter the CCSAR training room without thinking of Nick Van Helsdingen.

The way his laughter, light-hearted candour and enthusiasm would light up every practice, was infectious. The CCSAR training room will no longer be just that, but will be the Nick Van Helsdingen room.

Nick is survived by his loving wife, Sherry Foster, step-son and daughter in law. He will be missed by many, and all who had the privilege of knowing him.

All of Central Cariboo Search and Rescue mourns his passing. Every time there is laughter at practice, there is an overnighter for new members, or we are dispatched on a new task, we will be thinking of Nick. Each step we take, every time we smile, every high and low, we will be thinking of Nick.

Serving his community, making us laugh, and continuing to be the dedicated and kind man we was, he will be with us.

To Nick, until we meet again

Norm Babin

Campbell River SAR
May 31, 2020

About Norm

Norm was a long serving member of Campbell River Search & Rescue, Norm dedicated 20 years of his life volunteering to be there for others.

Norm was one of the stable go to guys when it came to helping out on any type of call or job. Norm was a member of the rope rescue team, swift water team and had many other skills that brought great advantage to the group.

Norm was known for his quiet kind thoughtful manner, he never complained he just did any task that was put before him with quiet excellence.

He had wisdom and patience and would dig in and take on anything and give back that classic Norm smile. He was very involved in all aspects of GSAR and was an anchor to our group in his time.

Norm had a passion for all things outdoor, sailing, hiking, biking, Norm would often say “I got bored last weekend so I rode my bike to Edmonton” and that was our Norm. Norm left our group several years ago due to health issues and the void was felt.

Norm left us all finally on May 31-2020, forever to sail and wander the land. Norm you were a gentle kind man who will be deeply missed by your GSAR brothers and sisters, rest well our friend.

Karl Winter

North Shore Rescue
December 31, 2021

About Karl

North Shore Rescue (NSR) is very sad to announce that one of our founding members, the first NSR team leader and mountain rescue legend, Karl Winter, passed away on Dec 31, 2021, of natural causes.

Karl was instrumental in the formation of NSR and to what it has become today.  Below is a brief but not exhaustive description of Karl’s contributions to the mountain rescue community as described by Gerry Brewer, another founding member of NSR.

Karl’s interest in mountains began while growing up in Germany.  Soon after arriving in B.C., he joined the Mountain Rescue Group.  Through this activity and the Alpine Club of Canada, his quiet accomplishments were soon noted by others.  Within three years of his arrival with no English, Karl was teaching mountaineering skills and leading club climbs.

During this period, Karl was really fortunate to have met Mary McGoran.  They both happened to be travelling to Whistler.  This very capable R.N. recognized that Karl was in good health and looking good.  They married in 1965 and had two sons; Greg and Warren.  The “boys” married and subsequently, Karl and Mary now have four active grandchildren.

Karl was invited to join in the 1967 Centennial Alpine Club climb of an unclimbed peak in the Yukon, to be named Mount British Columbia.  When reading the A.C. Journal, it is obvious that his personal effort, in extreme conditions, made it happen.

His strength and dedication was once again demonstrated in his self rescue on Mt. McKinley.  He and three others were trapped for days in a snow cave just below the summit due to extreme conditions.  They were in a terrible situation. The group decided to gamble on Karl’s strength and asked him to climb down to a cache, in chest deep snow, to the notch where he finally found their tent.

He tied a string of fuel bottles, sleeping bags, and some food on a rope and returned to the snow cave.  They all survived with some injuries.  Rescuers from Anchorage, Alaska, got to them some days later and flew them out to hospital.

In 1965, there was a mine disaster in Granduc Yukon, where avalanches buried the mining camp, including 23 men.  Karl and others in the M.R.G. attended to rescue those they found.  A tragic situation.

Later in 1965, Karl and a friend responded to a news ad asking folks to volunteer for a Civil Defence Group.  A meeting in the basement of the North Vancouver police office was North Shore Rescue’s inauspicious beginning.

Karl was North Shore Rescue’s first team leader.  He subsequently took us from a group of “bushwhackers,” as he called us, to the beginnings of a mountain rescue group.

It was clear, after our first major call in 1968 for a fatality on the north face of Goat Mt., that we needed to change our focus.  Innovation and change became our purpose.

During the following period, Karl and Mary began a very busy activity as St Bernard dog breeders.  They were soon recognized by the Smithsonian magazine for their International awards as leading breeders.

Karl’s work life was primarily the installation of industrial doors for such applications as found in large mine operations, pulp mills and commercial sites.

In one situation, he was asked to install doors weighing approximately 2000 lbs. each for a large mechanical repair shop at a diamond mine.  When he arrived at the site in the North West Territories, the promised structure wasn’t anywhere past the start stage.  Rather than fly back to Edmonton, he got the superintendent to put up the structure frames, to which he welded the steelwork and hung the gigantic doors.  He left after telling them, “Go ahead.  For a change, you can build your damned building around my doors.”

Karl’s mountaineering skills were frequently challenged during the 35+ years during which he was a responding active member of NSR.  Many owe a debt of gratitude to his efforts.

During these years, he experienced the transition from doing everything the “hard way” to being able to utilize the improved technological advances in equipment, safety gear, and the use of helicopters.  Our medical skills were another area in which Karl excelled. 

There are more stories than any one publication or release can describe to reflect the true size of this legend of a “mountain man.”

The team sends our condolences to Karl’s family and friends.  Rest well, Karl.  You have earned it.


Linda West

May 12, 2022

About Linda

Linda’s career with the Justice Institute of BC and her involvement with search and rescue spanned 30 years. Linda was an important fixture in the start and evolution of BCSARA and its predecessor, the SAR Advisory Committee. From her position in administration in the Emergency Management Division of the JIBC, she completed the admin duties for the committee and then the board, until retiring in 2011 in Victoria with Ron. Linda played a critical role in the development and delivery of the SAR review process with Dave Brewer. She was a friend to everyone that served on the advisory and board, and many others over the years.

Linda was presented with the Public Safety Lifeline Volunteer Lifetime Achievement award by PEP in 2007 and appointed as an honorary lifetime member of BCSARA in 2015, in recognition of her dedication to search and rescue.


Chris Kelly

BCSARA and Campbell River SAR
September 23, 2023

About Chris

Chris started with Campbell River Search and Rescue in 1996, with the same drive he used in establishing several successful businesses. He embraced the role as a SAR volunteer being active operationally and later becoming president of the group. In 2006, Chris was elected as the North Vancouver Island representative on the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) board and, from 2009 to 2014, he filled the position of secretary. In 2014, Chris was elected BCSARA president, leading the association through projects including obtaining new funding from the province of B.C. for SAR groups with a grant of $10 million in 2016, $5 million in 2017, $18.6 million in 2019 and, in 2022, an agreement announcing funding of $6 million annually for future years.

As president of BCSARA, Chris was a driving force in the establishment of the British Columbia SAR Volunteer Memorial on the legislative grounds in Victoria, alongside memorials for police, firefighters, and paramedics. This tripartite project with PEP Air and the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) was successful in having the memorial approved, installed and unveiled in less than two years. The memorial honors those volunteers who lost their lives in the line of duty and all that served. From Chris’s speech at the unveiling “It is our hope that many people will visit this memorial and understand the ultimate sacrifice of those listed, their families, friends and fellow volunteers; while recognizing the true service all search and rescue volunteers provide, and the support that they receive from families, employers and community.” Everyone is welcome to stop by the memorial and think of all the SAR volunteers who gave so much and asked so little, including Chris.

Donald Leslie Cunnings

Coquitlam Search and Rescue
December 5, 2023

About Don

Don was the founder and prominent champion of Coquitlam Search and Rescue.

He was instrumental in establishing parks and recreation services in Coquitlam and retired as their director of parks and leisure services in 1994. He helped to establish the BC Recreation and Parks Association and created Coquitlam Search and Rescue. Don was also a nationally ranked gymnast and coach and worked as a recreational therapist at Essondale (now səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview Lands). He volunteered regularly with the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation, Douglas College Foundation and the Coquitlam Heritage Society.

Don was a thread that wove together moments of inspiration, mentorship, and genuine care. His legacy is not just in the tales told or the gymnastic feats achieved and equipment and City funding secured, but in the lives touched and changed through his quiet yet profound influence. Don’s impact transcends time, and in our hearts, his memory remains a testament to the power of genuine connection and selfless support.

There are those rare individuals who leave an indelible mark, guiding us through different chapters with their wisdom, kindness, and unwavering support. Don, a beacon of inspiration and influence, was one such person. His presence was felt in the corridors of power. At the mere mention of his name, people would sit up and take notice. Don, a silent force, was steering the ship in our direction.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

Don certainly left an amazing trail and will very much be missed.


Sharon Tokar

Coquitlam Search and Rescue
March 16, 2024

About Sharon

Sharon was a pioneer of Coquitlam’s Search and Rescue. In the annals of Coquitlam Search and Rescue’s history, there exists a chapter illuminated by the spirit and unwavering dedication of Sharon Tokar, a trailblazer in every sense of the word. As we honor her memory, we pay homage to a woman whose remarkable contributions paved the way for countless others and left an indelible mark on our community.

Sharon’s journey as the first female search manager for Coquitlam Search and Rescue in the early 1980s stands as a testament to her pioneering spirit. In an era when gender roles loomed large, she fearlessly shattered barriers, demonstrating that determination and skill know no bounds. With her leadership, she not only guided search efforts with compassion but also inspired a new generation of search and rescue professionals to pursue their calling without reservation.

Beyond her role as a search manager, Sharon assumed the vital responsibility of treasurer, a position she held with resourcefulness. In the absence of a checking account, she meticulously managed the team’s finances, distributing mileage payments in humble coin envelopes with receipts in a shoebox. Her dedication and meticulous attention to detail ensured that every member of the team received their due, even in the face of logistical challenges.

As we reflect on Sharon’s life, let us cherish the memories of her unwavering resolve, her boundless compassion, and her enduring legacy of service. Though she may no longer walk among us, her spirit lives on in the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her. May we honor her memory by continuing the noble work she began, ensuring that her legacy of courage and compassion remains an everlasting beacon of hope for generations to come. Rest in peace, dear Sharon, knowing that your legacy will forever inspire and guide us.


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P.O. Box 2176
Sidney BC
V8L 3S6

For Emergencies, Call 911 or
1-800-663-3456 (Satelite Phone)