The Eastern District Search and Rescue team has come a long way in just a year, from using their own personal equipment on emergency calls to having several new pieces of specialized equipment to assist in rescues.
The Caraway based emergency team has worked hard to acquire equipment and supplies needed when called out to assist in searches and rescues in the Eastern District of Craighead County.
The team consists of officers Commander Jerry Stokes, Assistant Commander Dwight Whittenburg, Lieutenant Greg Adams, Lieutenant Dearl Freeman, and members, Al Lunsford, Sue Simpson, Irvin Smith, Robin Smith, Kenneth Faulkner, Sonny Collins, Ricci Waugh Sr. and Ricci Waugh Jr.
The Caraway Ambulance Service also plays an important in the team's success.
The team goes out to make the initial rescue and the ambulance service treats and transports the injured, when needing more specialized medical care. The ambulance service deals with short term rescues, where the search team specializes in long term rescues, taking many hours, days and sometimes weeks of work. They have been called out many times to aid in the search for missing persons in the area.
Dividends from a joint venture paid for a deep well jon boat and motor, which is used for dragging equipment and body searches during water searches. The team accepted donations on a shot gun and drew tickets for the winner. They received a donation from the Caraway Lion's Club for $250. The Craighead County Sheriff's Department paid the remaining cost of the boat and motor.
Ambulance volunteer, Barry Riley, applied for a $1,000 grant from the Craighead County Community Foundation. With the money received from the grant and assistance from the City of Caraway, the team purchased a Mountain Goat trailer, used in rescuing individuals in difficult terrain.
A Caraway sponsor donated a 1993 full size bed Chevrolet truck to the search and rescue team. The truck has been painted a neon green, which is easy to spot while in wooded areas.
The team is still searching for a permanent location for the search and rescue equipment and is currently sharing space with the ambulance service.
The team currently uses their personal four-wheelers and horses to assist in rescues, but the added equipment allows them greater flexibility.