On June 26, 2012, Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher gave the Oath of Office to pilots from Guidance Aviation who are participating as contract employees when flying YCSO’s “Rescue 1” helicopter on search missions.
Front L to R – Brad Blucher, Alex Clark, Kenan Bahadir, Curtis Marshall, and Ken Wilson. Pilot Benjamin Lewis was not available at the time of this photo. Standing in back L to R – Lt. Jeff Newnum and Sheriff Mascher
Following the Oath of Office, Sheriff Mascher provided each pilot with a YCSO wing pin signifying their commitment to duty when called upon for search and rescue missions. Each specially selected pilot expressed appreciation for the opportunity to work in this unique assignment with YCSO. Many of these pilots have already flown missions and were able to see firsthand how valuable the “Rescue 1” helicopter is to saving lives in an aerial search capacity.
Sheriff Mascher appreciates the commitment and partnership with Guidance Aviation executives, their staff, and these pilots. Since “Rescue 1” went into service, 18 missions have been flown on behalf of search and rescue efforts. Recently, “Rescue 1” provided air support during the recovery of 4 bodies from the Verde River following a tragic helicopter crash. The ability to have an ‘eye in the sky’ was critical in getting personnel safely to the remote site. Back in July of 2011, a Guidance Aviation helicopter assisting in a search effort located 62-year-old Gary Smith who had been stranded in the Bloody Basin wilderness area for 3 days. Smith was near death when found. He recently contacted YCSO by email following news involving the death of an Arizona hiker in the Superstition Mountains. Smith wrote, “I was lucky that I was found in time. I'm sure you heard the news about a guy that was hiking the Superstition Mountains and was later found dead (July 6, 2012). People just don't understand the importance of taking that extra precaution of stopping and waiting for help instead of wandering further from a rescue opportunity.” Smith has remained extremely grateful that YCSO had the availability of air support in his situation.
The “Rescue 1” program is funded without the use of Yavapai County general fund monies. A combination of US Forest Service grants and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) monies provide operation costs. Lt. Jeff Newnum commands the Forest Patrol Program and oversees the use of “Rescue 1” on search missions.
Also present during the June ceremony from Guidance Aviation were (pictured foreground L to R)
Chris Horton who is Manager of Flight Operations, Nancy Armstrong who is Director of Finance and Personnel,
and David Roy, Director of Safety and Flight Operations.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov