Pittsylvania Co., VA - It can be terrifying not knowing where a loved one is. But one local group is making it their mission is to find missing people all over Virginia.
Angel Search and Rescue is made up of volunteers who are trained to conduct search and rescues. They usually go out on four to five searches a year and have a high success rate. But they say one more tool will help them be even more accurate.
Through the forest and in the cold, Angel Search and Rescue volunteers do whatever it takes to find a missing person.
"To have that type of asset here in our community is invaluable," said Chris Anderson, a K-9 team coordinator.
When the call comes in, these volunteers are ready to go. For 15 years, Angel Search and Rescue volunteers have used only manpower to find a subject.
"When a person goes out, you are dependent on what witnesses have said or witnesses have seen or sometimes nothing except maybe a car parked in a parking lot," said Anderson.
Now, they want to step up their search efforts so they've started training three dogs to assist them in search and rescue operations.
"A human is only as good as the information they've been given however a dog has the innate ability to smell to use their nose," said Anderson.
"If you are lost out there that is the best thing looking for you," said Tim Coke, dog handler.
To get certified in Virginia, the dog and handler team needs a lot of training and that means a lot of expenses. So, now they are searching for donations.
"It's quite a task. It takes a huge amount of hours and a huge amount of money so we are just working on it as we go," said Anderson.
But they say even with the high costs and long hours, a rescue will always be worth it.
"He finds somebody, it's worth every minute of it. It is. I can't tell you how it feels," said Coke.
They hope to have some of their dogs certified by the end of 2013. Meanwhile, Angel Search and Rescue are looking not just for funds but also for volunteers.
If you want to help you can go to their website at angelsar.org or call them at (434) 441-0158.