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Coquitlam Search and Rescue turns 40

Coquitlam Search and Rescue is celebrating its 40th birthday this week.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Coquitlam Search and Rescue is celebrating its 40th birthday this week.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Forty years ago Pierre Elliott Trudeau was Canada's Prime Minister, the Godfather was packing movie theatres and the Boston Bruins were Stanley Cup champions.

It was also the year that the Coquitlam Search and Rescue team was launched, an anniversary that was recognized by city council during Monday's regular meeting.

In 1972 it was decided that the municipality required its own rescue crew after volunteers from outside the community had to be called in to assist with a search on Burke Mountain.

Originally comprised of police and fire department personnel, the team is now completely staffed by a group of 50 volunteers.

"It was a great honour to represent the team for this recognition, said Garry Mancell, president of Coquitlam Search and Rescue. "Being part of this team has been most satisfying. The dedication of each and every member is unlike anything I have been involved in."

Coquitlam Search and Rescue's search area covers 1,600 square kilometers, the largest in the Lower Mainland. Members are trained in ground search, swift water rescue, rope rescue, helicopter safety and avalanche awareness, among other things.

To date, more than 650 tasks have been conducted by the group, including finding 821 lost people, rescuing 68 injured hikers and recovering 61 bodies.

Volunteers Dan Cook was also recognized for 35 years of service with the organization and Ian Cunnings was honoured for his 30 years with the group.

"People are aware of the work we do during a search or rescue but they don't hear about the hours spent training and honing our skills to be ready," Mancell said. "Dan Cook and Ian Cunnings are examples of the years of dedication many of our members put in."

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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