Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
De Anza Rescue Unit
The rider was found one hour and fifteen minutes later. He was not near his bike and not in the location he gave when he called the Sheriff. Delirious with severe dehydration, he could no longer walk on his own. The rescuers brought him to the De Anza Rescue Unit mobile command center, gave him first aid, and immediately called for transportation to the hospital.
“If the victim had spent another two hours in the desert, he would have died,” was the report of the attending physician.
The De Anza Rescue Unit, Inc. was formed on May 26, 1969. “The unit serves as an auxiliary service organization prepared 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to assist the Sheriff's Department in organized search and rescue,” stated Paul Koon, the organization's current president.
Today, there are 28 members from all around the county, with a variety of occupations. “All members participate in field training exercises once a month,” stated Koon. “We run real-life scenarios, someone gets lost and we go find them.
“Each month our training focuses on different skills, sometimes it is foot tracking, sometimes it is vehicle tracking. Every member is required to maintain First Aid and CPR certificates. We are all disaster service qualified and part of the State Mutual Aid system. The De Anza Rescue Unit can be called to assist in both San Diego and Riverside Counties if needed.”
The organization is all volunteer, and members provide their own equipment and expenses for the 22 to 24 rescues that they are called to assist with annually. Jeff Green, who has been with the organization for ten years, field manages search and rescue operations for the unit. “When we receive a call-out from the Sheriff's Office, we can typically deploy half of our members within 45 minutes,” Green said, “but we can go out with five people and set up an effective search to find someone.”
In the 42 years since the Rescue Unit was founded, not all of the rescue stories have had such happy outcomes. “Even in the worst case scenario, what we do is important,”said Green. “To find someone and relieve the unknown factor for the family is a big part of what we do.”
In October 2010, The Rescue Unit began a fund-raising campaign to raise money to replace their mobile command unit, a 30-year-old school bus that has been very visible at community events, fairs, and festivals in the Valley. Soon the rescue unit will have a new state of the art mobile facility. “We are just waiting on the radios to be installed,”stated Koon. “Most of our operations are either at night in the middle of winter, or in the middle of the day in 120 degree weather. The new 5th-wheel trailer will have heat and AC and will allow people to get in out of the heat or cold. We have been putting in lots of work to get the trailer finished.”
Why put in so much work? Koon has the answer, “A couple years ago we were called out to the desert. A seven-year-old boy had run out of gas and was lost overnight. About 3:00am we found him asleep on top of his quad. When we returned that young man to his mother I knew that every volunteer hour that I had spent with the De Anza Rescue Unit was worth it.”
Friday, September 16, 2011
Dave just sent me an article entitled 10 Housing Markets that Will Collapse This Year.
Guess what number seven was...
El Centro, California, is located five miles from the Mexican border, and is one of the poorest cities in the country. Median income is just $43,300 per family, the tenth-lowest in the U.S. Unemployment is at a staggering 28.6 percent. Between 2006 and 2011, home prices decreased by more than 50 percent. According to a report in the Imperial Valley Press, one home was sold in the El Centro area before the recession for $390,000. In 2009, that home was listed at $200,000. Prices are expected to drop an additional 12.1 percent by the first quarter of 2012. Five miles from the Mexican border? Think about it and forgetaboutit.
Well, uh, too late...
Now, I can't believe the housing market has not already collapsed here. It's going to get worse? Ouch.On the flip side, we are looking at a house today to rent in El Centro. We could never have afforded this house a couple years ago. But we were at a party last month at Pastor Ron's house. He said the house down the street was going to be empty because the renter had bought the house across the street. We went to look at it. It would be nice, but no way. A couple weeks ago I gave the owner a letter and told him what I thought we could pay. He called me yesterday and told me to come pick up the keys.
With school starting four weeks ago and Deneen starting work this past Monday we are already crunched with the drive from Ocotillo to El Centro. We spend an hour every morning in the car. Last weekend we had to drive into town for a church youth group party and a school club party. Yesterday we had to go out to eat after school then sit at Starbucks while the boys were at an evening practice until 7:30 for the Mock Trial Club. Tonight, if Davis has to cover the football game for the school newspaper, we will be in El Centro from 7:00am-10:00pm, and most of that time I will be sitting at Starbucks.
Not that I don't love Starbucks...but I think they are getting tired of me. Lucas came in after school a few days ago and the barista said, "I know your Dad, he's the guy who gets a lot of free refills."