$50,000 awarded to seven Colorado backcountry SAR teams through Kyle Clark’s Word of Thanks microgiving campaign

In Public by Anna Debattiste

Here in Colorado, we like to think of our backcountry search and rescue (BSAR) community as a team of teams.  Even the biggest, best-resourced teams need assistance from other organizations at times.  That’s why when Kyle Clark of 9News called to say that he and the generous supporters of his Word of Thanks micro-giving program would like to donate to us in March, we created a grant application that gave a little extra weight to requests from teams that help out beyond their county borders.  Many teams in Colorado respond to mutual aid requests from their neighboring counties, donate equipment to other groups, work on collaborative projects with CSAR that benefit the entire BSAR community, and focus on backcountry safety education to help reduce incidents across the state, and we think those efforts should be rewarded.

On May 13th, 2024, a group of five evaluators met to make some tough decisions.  There were 20 worthy applications totalling $158,000 in grant requests and we had $50,000 to award.  We can’t thank the following evaluators enough for volunteering their time to help with this challenging grant process:

  • Kerry Donovan, former Colorado state senator and sponsor of two 2021 bills that provided funding and mental health resources for the BSAR community
  • Brian Lazar, deputy director for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center
  • Greg Foley, CSAR state coordinator and Grand County Search and Rescue field director  
  • Trish Zornio, BSAR Council member and backcountry enthusiast
  • Sheriff Terry Wetherill, Mineral County

Congratulations are in order for Lake County Search and Rescue, Western Mountain Rescue Team, Park County Search and Rescue, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Custer County Search and Rescue, La Plata County Search and Rescue, and Fremont Search and Rescue.  Thanks to the generosity of the Word of Thanks donors, these teams will be able to fully or partially fund needs such as response vehicles, a Rigging for Rescue class, IT-related equipment for incident commanders, and a backcountry litter and wheel system.

We’d especially like to thank Kyle Clark and the many donors to his Word of Thanks campaign.  Our volunteers can’t do it alone, and the support of the public makes a meaningful difference in the operations of BSAR teams across the state.