Voting has closed for the Search & Rescue category, but you can still watch the inspiring videos from our extraordinary finalists. Return on September 2, 2021 to find out which nonprofit won the new Defender. In the meantime, listen to their stories, visit their websites and support their worthwhile causes.
ALPINE RESCUE TEAM (EVERGREEN, CO)
The Alpine Rescue Team was created in 1959 after a rock-climbing accident. The local fire departments that responded realized the need for specialized mountain rescuers to effectively and safely perform mountain search, rescue and recoveries. Now, 60 years later and over 4,000 search and rescue missions accomplished, their team of 75+ volunteer members are available every moment of the year—free of charge—to those in need. The terrain varies from forested foothills and rocky canyons to windswept and snowy high-alpine of 14,000-foot peaks. Alpine Rescue Team members are professional volunteers and receive no compensation, but train to the highest standards.
GREAT BASIN K-9 SEARCH & RESCUE (EDEN, UT)
Great Basin K9 Search & Rescue is an all-volunteer organization with operational members in Summit, Weber, Morgan and Salt Lake Counties. Their mission is to train K9 search and rescue teams (handlers with dogs) to a high standard and certification in order to provide K9 search and rescue services to locate missing persons: hikers, hunters, drownings, avalanche victims and homicide victims. All of these services are provided at no cost to requesting Law Enforcement and public safety organizations throughout the Intermountain West.
MILITARY MOBILITY (CHEYENNE, WY)
Military Mobility specializes in off-road expeditions and training for veterans in need. They use the rugged geographic landscape as a medium for the personal and professional challenges faced in life and use 4WD vehicles to literally navigate and overcome obstacles. The organization provides search and rescue training and instills confidence, purposefulness, adaptability and social support to build resilience. Military Mobility is a certified FEMA Train-the-Trainer, educating veterans to be Community Emergency Response Team members. This allows veterans to rejoin a team and stay engaged by continuing a life of service, this time in caring for their local community.
PORTLAND MOUNTAIN RESCUE (HAPPY VALLEY, OR)
Portland Mountain Rescue is a nonprofit, volunteer organization dedicated to saving lives through rescue and education. They are one of the many mountain rescue units in the country that function under the auspices of the international Mountain Rescue Association (MRA). These subsidiary units, like Portland Mountain Rescue, consist of a volunteer group of highly skilled climbers and enthusiastic support resources that are dedicated to getting people out of trouble in mountainous and high-angle areas. Their members, numbering over 70 strong, serve in a variety of roles, while working toward a single goal: saving lives.
WOLFE COUNTY SEARCH AND RESCUE (CAMPTON, KY)
The Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team is an all-volunteer group, serving Kentucky’s Red River Gorge Region 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Missions range from finding lost hikers to evacuating injured climbers, even conducting high-angle rope rescue operations hundreds of feet above solid ground. Responding to over 60 missions a year, their team rises to the challenge, operating entirely on grants and donations. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the face of a cliff, in the middle of a raging flood, or miles off road, the Wolfe County Search and Rescue team must be able to quickly and reliably get there, because lives depend on it.
Due to an overwhelming response to the Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards, five exemplary semi-finalists were selected for their commitment to accomplishing great things in their communities. Visit their websites and support their efforts today.
Altadena Mountain Rescue Team
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