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.

Darren Weibler--always there expect nothing less

by Mike Fink -- Published Summer 1997

In case you are wondering who can possibly log in more SAR hours than the Cottons, wonder no more. If you don't see Darren Weibler at the SAR event you are currently attending, you probably should call 911 and report him missing.

Darren was born on January 30, 1970 to Walt and Dorothy Weibler in Arvada Colorado. So far, he has never been married and doesn't have any children. However, if there is one thing I have learned after many years of associating with SARDOC people, it is that dogs are family. And so I would have to say that Darren in fact has two children, Ranger, who we all know, and his older brother Baxter, a 4 year-old black lab. If he were to adopt another, Darren insists it would be a yellow lab and it would, of course be Ranger's younger brother, just as Ranger was a younger brother for Baxter. A lab of each color is Darren's current picture of a well-balanced family.

He is the oldest of three brothers. His brother Kevin is 25 and Brian is 22. Darren's dad, Walt, has his own business in Arvada designing and building stainless steel heat exchangers.

Dorothy, his mom, helps run the company, takes care of the books, and works in the shop. With dad starting the business when Darren was about 12, there was little time for long vacations. However, at the age of 10, he does remember a trip to Disney World. Darren claims to have had a pretty boring childhood with very little camping and hiking experiences but he always enjoyed it when he was in the mountains and, as he put it, they were always there. He and his dad did spend part of one summer mining for gold with a friend of his dads, 20 miles from Leadville, at about 12,500 feet in elevation. It was "a fun adventure" and he came away with a whole ounce of gold, which I believe he still has. The family would occasionally spend a day 4-wheeling, and always stopped somewhere along the way for a picnic lunch.

Darren was very active in sports, concentrating mostly on baseball, quite a bit on tennis until high school, and a brief stint in the world of basketball. Even though Darren had to give up tennis in high school as he concentrated on baseball, tennis was and still is his favorite sport (We tentatively scheduled a match as soon as he can find some spare time - yea right - since I am a bit of a Jimmy Connors myself!?).

Graduating twice from CSU, Darren received an undergraduate degree in mathematics and computers in 1992 and then received his master's degree in mathematics in 1994. He is now employed by Hewlett-Packard in Fort Collins as a Project Engineer/Manager.

Darren joined LCSAR in 1995, shortly after graduating, and when he was able to save up some extra money. His original SAR interest was, of course, in the area of search dogs. However, Darren wisely chose to train as a SAR team member first to see if he was up to the task. He participates regularly in dog and SAR practices, searches, rescues, PSAR, and he has just written a grant to H-P for a laser printer for the SAR office. His favorite event of the year is the BASART Final, recalling fondly, as a true SAR addict would, the gnarly terrain of his first final above Arrowhead Lodge in Poudre Canyon. Currently holding the rank of Search Leader, Darren hopes to attain his Rescue rating by the end of the summer. He has no real preference between the search or rescue avenues but just wants to be able to help however he can. Finally, he very much enjoys the PSARs he does with the kids.

In his spare time, he and Ranger are training to be a certified dog team, which I understand, is about 6 weeks worth of training time away. Ranger is probably ready right now, says Darren, but there are a few rough edges on the handlers' skills. After BASART is over, Darren and Ranger hope to concentrate on the final training and certification testing.

Darren's most rewarding and memorable SAR experience was recently when a missing child near Laramie was found by one of our search dog teams. The child was in a totally different area than people searching earlier indicated. Thanks to the dogs almost immediate, strong alerts and ultimate find, the little girl was brought to safety just minutes before a cold, wet, windy spring storm rapidly moved into the area and darkness fell. Almost surely, the outcome would have not been positive if it were not for SAR involvement. Darren was very moved by this demonstration of the impact that SAR, search dogs, and training can make.

Another memorable experience for Darren was last summer's rescue at the crags near Twin Sisters above Estes. It took every ounce of every person's strength to carry the injured person off the mountain and Darren was sore for days afterward.

I asked Darrren for his philosophical views on SAR. He hopes that we all appreciate the meaning of this SAR commitment we have made. What we are doing does makes a difference and we should take it very seriously. Every call we receive can potentially mean life or death, or at the least, a significant emotional impact to one or many people. We should always make every effort to respond to every call and try not to second-guess the outcome.

LCSAR and SARDOC are very fortunate to have Darren around and our fortunes will continue to grow, as he does. Lastly, but most importantly, Darren advises falling on a rock may be a preferable choice if the other option is to fall on a cactus.