Wolfe Co., Ky. (WTVQ)– The RedRiver Gorge area is enjoyed year-round by people from all over the country.They come to see the natural beauty and enjoy the outdoors, but sometimes those visits go wrong. Thankfully, the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team is thereto answer the call.
“If someone’s seeing the men in orange, as we call ourselves sometimes, someone’s having a really bad day. So we don’t want anyone to have a bad day when they come here;we want people to be able to come into the gorge and enjoy the great views that they have in the trail systems that are in place without getting injured or lost.” said John May, the SART chief.
It’s a dangerous job, one that few people would sign up for. Some would call them crazy. They call them even crazier when they find out they’re all volunteering.
“Yeah, there’s been many instances where I’ve been on a rescue all night, go home, take a shower and go to work. And that makes for a very long day at work, but it’s what we do; we want to help people.” said May
John May leads the team, but in 2019, he actually was a beneficiary of the team’s commitment. During a rescue, John fell, being injured in the process. His team then came to his rescue.
“I fell about 150 feet, sustained some fairly serious injuries from that. And although I don’t remember a lot about what the team did, they’ve certainly filled in those blank spots for me. And of course I know what we do, so I had a pretty good indication what was going on with the team during that time. And they ultimately saved my life, so I’ve been a recipient of what we train to do everyday.” said May
Don’t let the word volunteer fool you either. These heroes put in numerous hours of training to make sure they are prepared to save lives.
“We hold our team members to a very high standard. We do a lot of technical rope rescues and that’s not something you just go out and do unless you have a lot of training in it.” said May
It’s definitely not an easy job, but it’s one the members of the team say they’re thankful they get to do.
“And I think it’s that same sort of mentality of just a drive to help others and a drive to use the skill sets you have to do that, that keeps folks coming back. It almost feels like a duty, even though it’s a volunteer role.” said Drew Stevens
If you know people just like the Wolfe County Search and Rescue Team going above and beyond the call of duty, nominate them to be our 911 Heroes. Also, the team runs completely on donations, you can donate here.