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Volunteers form Black Sheep Search and Rescue

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Normal Volunteers form Black Sheep Search and Rescue

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:41 am

| July 7, 2011 |
By Kelly J. Stigliano, Correspondent

MIDDLEBURG - Who would have imagined in 2009 that something positive would result from 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings’ disappearance from her bedroom in Satsuma?

Yet it was through that volunteer search effort that Green Cove Springs resident Charlie Waters and Terry "Sarge" Huffman of Keystone Heights met and subsequently formed Black Sheep Search and Rescue.

Black Sheep SAR is a group of men and women who train hard and work tirelessly in searches for missing persons.

Waters brings three years of Air Force training and dog handling experience to the table. Huffman brings nine years of Army wisdom. Together they choose volunteers for training that they feel will compliment their mission which reads, "Black Sheep Search and Rescue is committed to using all resources at our disposal to save lives and to assist those in need. Our highly-trained team is prepared to perform our duty in a professional matter; safely, quickly, and efficiently. We place our duty to the missing and their families above all else and without hesitation."

Huffman said their organization is comprised of retired military personnel, retired law enforcement officers, former search and rescue volunteers, sportsmen, and "people with good common sense." He adds, "Ideally we wanted 20 to 25 people but now we want to go to 35."

Training is not for the faint of heart. Night and day training; cold and hot weather training; wet and dry weather training, they train at least once a month. They have a watercraft team, ATV team, K-9 and equestrian teams, as well as ground support and administrative support.

"We are looking for team players," Waters said. Members are from St. Johns, Clay and Duval Counties. "We know CPR, first aid, and many are members of CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams)."

Huffman is the South Team Leader of CERT and said members must complete the official FEMA CERT course to work on a law enforcement search.

"It gets pretty serious when you’re out there," Waters added. "Mentally you’d better be set. Spiritually you’d better be right."

Matt Andrews is the Black Sheep SAR chaplain. He had joined a volunteer search team looking for the father of a friend in Jacksonville in 2010. "After talking with them (Black Sheep SAR) for a while they asked me to join them for that search; then they asked me to join the team," Andrews said. After learning that Andrews is an ordained minister, he was asked to be their chaplain. "In the position of chaplain I have made myself available for spiritual counseling and I pray over the team and give spiritual encouragement."

Andrews had to complete the Black Sheep SAR training, as well. "It’s not just a training. Our motto is to train hard and pray we never need to use it. Black Sheep is more than just a SAR team; we are more like a big family."

Huffman and Waters say their team is ready to help throughout Florida and Georgia. "We are our brother’s keeper," Huffman said. "We are a free organization that offers help and want to get information out to people."

In addition to searching for missing persons, Black Sheep SAR educates the community with informative programs. They have presented "Stranger Danger" workshops to Girl Scouts, as well as studies on venomous snakes and other environmental hazards, and instruction on compass navigation. They were at Railroad Days in Green Cove Springs in March and at Goldhead State Park Family Day in Keystone Heights in May.

"I think Black Sheep is a great asset to the community," Andrews said. "Between everyone on the team, we have a lot of different experience to offer. When needed, I know that this team will work tirelessly to help in the case we are called to."

For help or for more information on Black Sheep Search and Rescue, contact "Sarge" Huffman at (352) 473-1052.

Prayers for our little HaLeigh Cummings, wherever she may be!!

Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody’s hand and squeeze it, while there’s time.
-- Dale Dauten--

Thank you RAINE for all you ARE!! I will ALWAYS hold you in my Heart!!

Join date : 2009-05-28

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Normal Re: Volunteers form Black Sheep Search and Rescue

Post by charminglane on Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:26 pm

Kind of like the Vidocq Society.
Way cool!

Join date : 2009-05-28

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