The LCSTARs page was established to recognize the achievements of team members who have gone above and beyond the necessary requirements to be a professional search and rescue person. They are truly an inspiration to other team members. It is also about getting to know our fellow team members and getting a peek at what makes them tick and some insight into the diverse kinds of people that join the SAR community and what they find so captivating about their experience.
by Mike Fink
This issue's star is a recent addition to the team but I think you will agree already a great asset. He currently holds the rating of S2 but not for long, I suspect. He was in charge of concert parking at the fairgrounds last year, which raised the largest amount of money in the shortest time of any fund raising event LCSAR has ever done. He successfully completed Rigging For Rescue in 1999. He has been happily married to Barb for eight years. He has worked at Kodak for 26 ½ years and currently works the 12-hour, 7-day shifts in the film support manufacturing operation. He will answer to the name of Dave or Frank, probably because those are both his real names.
Dave was born and raised in Loveland Colorado and both of his parents were born and raised in Colorado, Dad in Windsor and Mom in Berthoud. Dad served time in the Army, the Navy, and the National Guard, and was heavily involved in World War II. He has three brothers who all still live close by, one in Denver, one in Wellington and one in Loveland.
Dave graduated from Loveland High School in 1970. He excelled in football as a tackle, a guard, and the place kicker. His football skills enabled him to get a scholarship as an offensive tackle at Mesa Junior College in Grand Junction. Dave played right tackle on the offense for a year until his knees got tore up. With college being expensive even in the 70's, Dave had to drop out and go to work. Custom cabinetry was his first job followed by a short stint at Samsonite/Lego Toys and finally Kodak. Dave enjoyed woodworking when he used to have spare time. He has made some pretty awesome custom puzzle toys for kids. He offers Cody Riley's daughter as a recent reference. Sources close to the workshop say, however, that it is a real Mickey-Mouse operation.
Dave has a somewhat unique distinction in that he was turned down for membership in 1997 but was accepted when he reapplied in 1998. That first go-around in 1997 was quite distressing for Dave. He had thoughts of giving up but that "Dave Determination" that we all know and love took control. He wanted to join LCSAR for several years but finally took the first step when he was at REI returning some boots. He saw our brochure which had Don Davis's phone number and he made that first call.
When you listen to people talk about why they wanted to join LCSAR, and why they are still around you get a lot of the same information. The work is challenging and there is no limit to amount of new things you can learn. But even more than that there's the feeling of closeness and friendship and shared interests and you're helping people and it's rewarding in so many ways – not just because you found or rescued someone. And when things slow down around the holidays, you miss it.
Dave talked at great length about the support and encouragement he receives from his wife, Barb. She saw that spark in his eyes after he joined and knew it was something he wanted. When the pager goes off at 3am Dave looks at Barb and she just says, "what else are you going to do today – go on get out of here!" When Dave gets home, she enjoys hearing the stories about what happened. Her co-workers know that Dave is with LCSAR and they always ask about his latest adventures. She enjoys telling our stories and is careful about just relating the facts. Sounds like a good PR person to me! The highlight of their joint SAR experience came at this years Christmas party when the team recognized Barb and other family members for their tremendous support. I got the feeling that Dave gets teary-eyed fairly often and he said he lost it again when Rita called Barbs name.
Dave loves to do the PSARs for the kids. The looks on their faces, the questions they ask, and their hunger to learn are just priceless. At a recent "Lost But Found Safe And Sound" Dave had every child's full attention for a good forty minutes as the story of Kelly is told. (He always has to leave when Kelly is reunited with her family cause those pesky tears come out. It is also a sad moment as he wishes Jared's family could have had the same reunion). After sharing Kelly's story with the kids and talking a little about Jared Dave passed out the whistles and then, all the kids lined up and each gave Dave a big hug (more tears). At the very end of the line was a tiny little girl. When it was her turn to hug Dave, she just jumped into his arms, squeezed him for a long time, gave him a kiss on the cheek, said how good the story was and asked Dave to please tell Kelly she said hi.
Dave commends the team for its strong teaching style and for taking the time to teach the skills right the first time. We are very good at practicing what we preach. We take care of business and then can get together socially at Coops or Old C's to wind down and have some fun.
We talked at great length about some philosophical things. Dave has done a lot of thinking about SAR and BASART and the interview process and teaching and… If you get a chance, you might want to listen to some of his ideas. His greatest inspiration to participate came from Ken Klein who spoke at the BASART graduation about responding when the pager goes off and how the team had invested all this training time, and what was expected for that investment. It was not the first time he had heard that but something about the way Ken said it made Dave realize what his commitment would be.
Dave does not highlight any one particular mission as most memorable but states that any mission that has closure is extremely rewarding and those that do not are most unpleasant.
A final word or two to the incoming BASART class. Frustration is the norm. You cannot give up just because you may not grasp something right away or as quickly as others. Don't hesitate to ask questions even if it may delay getting out of the field. We're glad you're on our side, Dave!