Alamogordo Search and Rescue seeks volunteers
Tara Melton, Alamogordo Daily News – 22 Jan. 16
One day seven years ago, James Hiller saw the Alamogordo Search and Rescue rappelling as part of their training and he immediately became interested in the group.
“I used to build towers for communication companies,” Hiller said. “I’ve always worked up in the air. I’ve just always been one of those guys with his hair on fire, hanging out on a rope all day.”
Hiller, currently section chief of plans, operations and an evaluator for Alamogordo Search and Rescue, said he likes the excitement and has always enjoyed helping people.
“I’m kind of a go-getter,” he said. “When I joined there was no one who was field certified and to lead teams you have to at least be field certified. I jumped in and became section chief for plans and operations, I’m semi-retired so I have the time to do things like that.”
Alamogordo Search and Rescue is a non-profit corporation staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers who are individuals dedicated to helping others. Alamogordo Search and Rescue is activated for missions by the New Mexico State Police, District 8 and encompass Otero and Lincoln counties when there’s help needed to find someone who is lost or when recovering a body.
“When people get out in the woods and get lost, the mind quits working,” Hiller said. “They’re out there in the dark without a flashlight and they remember every mountain lion and bear story they’ve ever heard and every mouse under the grass is that mountain lion or bear.”
Hiller said with the prominence of smartphones, it’s become easier to help find people in certain situations.
“The young people are very good at it and they’ll call you on their phone if they’re lost and they will bring up an app for GPS and it will give me their coordinates,” he said. “Once we have your coordinates, just be still and we’ll go get you. It’s something we didn’t used to have in the past.”