Mission Search and Rescue was formed in February 1981. Two of the people responsible for this were Ken McDonald and Fraser Field; they were both employed by the BC Ambulance Service. Through their work, they recognized a need for a team of individuals who could be available to go off the beaten path to search and or rescue those who needed it.
The team operated out of someone’s basement for a while, then out of someone’s garage. There was no paging system available at the time and the team relied on the telephone to contact each other when they were tasked out.
In the mid 1980’s, when the new Police Station was built, the team was given one of the bays in the back to store their only vehicle. Through fundraising and a lot of dedication, the team acquired one and then another vehicle. They were also collecting equipment necessary to ‘do the job’. That being ropes, stretchers, first aid equipment, a small aluminum boat, generators etc. Ken recognized the need for a larger boat and appealed to BC Hydro for funding. They put up a portion of the cost, while the team scraped together the balance. And so we got a new jet boat. The team was definitely growing out of its space.
Ken McDonald was with our team until January of 2002, when he retired. He was extremely dedicated to the team, personally funding it for a long time. He was the duty officer, or the person that was contacted by RCMP twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for what must be close to twenty years. The team now resides at what used to be the public works building down by the West Coast Express parking lot.