Starting at ESAR headquarters
All Commands lining up for the convoy out to Spring Lake
At the end of Beck's Lake Road is our training destination
ESAR convoy arriving
Setting up the MCC - everyone checks in here - this is our "Life Line"
K9 and Land are training together
K9 and Land Commanders working together
Aviation and Marine Ops training together
And it is in the water
They are so good that sometimes they don't need dive gear!!!!!
After a LONG morning of training - it is time for lunch
Logistics Command: Fire up the grill - nobody does it better - hamburgers, hot dogs and BBQ chicken - YUM !!!! AND we have watermelon and soft drinks on ice.
Logistics Command provides the ride
Or perhaps you need this ride from Logistics?

All ESAR commands will have a training day on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at Spring Lake on Becks Lake Road in Cantonment starting at 0900 hours. This is the same location where it was held back in 2019. For information contact your Commander. Land, K9, MarineOps, Aviation, Communications and Logistics will be actively training there. Lunch will be provided.


Reverence for life affords us our basic humility and speeds us on our missions at any hour, whatever the conditions, without regard for personal comfort.

Escambia Search and Rescue, Inc. (ESAR) is a volunteer organization committed to helping others through an array of search and rescue efforts. It is a self-supporting, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation chartered by the State of Florida. Volunteers are the heart and soul of Escambia Search and Rescue, Inc. at every level of command and membership.

ESAR Director: Clint Retherford 

Assistant Director: OB Pettit

Communications Commander: Bob Tribble

Marine Operations Commander: OB Pettit

Land Commander: Jeremy Findley

Aviation Commander: Jared Cash

K9 Commander: Michelle Caputo

Logistics Commander: Thomas Butler

Dive Commander: Wesley Rose

Director Emeritus: Skip Bollens

NON-voting Members:

Treasurer: Eleanor McGee

Secretary: Albert Bressler

ESAR Training2image7ESAR Training16

Training Day actually started the night before with some of our members setting up camp at Spring Lake in Cantonment. The great thing about this advance force was that they effectively eliminated flying insects from the training site with a mosquito fogger.

IMG_0722IMG_0725ESAR Training9

Unfortunately, it was impractical to fog all of the area where the K9 handlers were training dogs and handlers. Inspite of the copious amounts of flying insect pests, Jaime Martin and K9 Keira were easily able to find Luke hiding in the woods. K9 Keira was amazing - it was a lot of fun to watch her work.


image3image2ESAR Training3

Jeremy Findley and rest of the Land Command trained on 4 wheel ATV's, wilderness skills and other Search and Rescue skills. They have some of the best tools (boy's and girl's toys) - for finding missing persons. Land training is FUN!!!

image6image1ESAR Training15

OB Petit and the rest of Marine Ops Command trained on deploying, trailoring and running the 16 foot Trackers. There is nothing better on a hot day than running a boat on the water.



Jared Cash and the rest of Aviation Command set up the drones and trained with them - this is the cutting edge of Search and Rescue.

ESAR Training12ESAR Training17ESAR Training18

ESAR Training13

Jim Walters and the rest of the Communications Command trained on setting up and operating the small MCC which is perfect for wilderness search operations. If you love electronics, this is the place for you to help find missing persons.

image2image1ESAR Training14

ESAR Training7ESAR Training4ESAR Training19

ESAR Training8ESAR Training6ESAR Training5

All of this training could never have happened had it not been for the excellent preparations and support of Tom Butler and the rest of his Support Command.

ESAR Dive Commander, Clint Retherford has been promoted to the position of Director. The current Board of Directors are as follows:

Communications Commander and Assistant Director:     James Walters

Marine Operations Commander:    OB Petit

Land Commander:    Jeremy Findley

Aviation Commander:    Jared Cash

K9 Commander:    Michelle Caputo

Support Commander:    Thomas Butler

Director Emeritus:    Alfred (Skip) Bollens

NON-voting Members:

Treasurer:    Jon Rhodes

Secretary:    Albert Bressler

Mike and Hudson
The U.S. Canine Biathalon recently took place on 320 acres, in Anniston, Alabama.  This event was open to all types of Handler/Canine teams, including civilian pets, search & rescue, military working dogs, and police dog teams.

The 2019 US Canine Biathalon was comprised of 84 obstacles over 4.2 miles, with 1,285 participants.  It featured diverse, challenging aspects for both K9s & Handlers to overcome and rely on each other to make it through the grueling course of streams, tunnels, vertical climbs, and the infamous Heartbreak Hill.  It is the ultimate K9/Handler bonding experience, and is a true testament for what a K9/Handler team can overcome together and accomplish.

Escambia Search And Rescue Canine Handler Mike Rhodes, and his canine partner Hudson started off the course excited, but timid for a few obstacles they had never seen before.   As they went through the course, their confidence excelled and Hudson was the one who helped pull Mike up the gauntlet of Snake Hill and then Heartbreak Hill.  "He did things I have never seen him do and never thought he was capable of doing.  And from my side of the leash, you could just tell he had a blast doing it!!"
Hudson and Mike teamed up with a few Handlers from Klaas Kids to form Team "Klassy Mud Puppies," which placed 5th out of 44 registered teams.  Mike says it was a great experience, and he's totally looking forward to next year.

ESAR Member uses personal vehicle to back far enough down a flooded roadway to launch the boat on a mission to rescue a stranded camper.
ESAR Members used a personal vehicle to back far enough down a flooded roadway to launch an ESAR vessel,

A camper from out of state found himself surrounded by flood waters near the Bluff Springs Recreational Area on the shores of Escambia River.

There was a collaborative effort by members of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Escambia Search And Rescue to launch an ESAR vessel on the flooded roadway to gain access to where he was camping, in order to help him back to safety.

On Tuesday, December 5th, at about 6:20pm ESAR volunteers responded to a report of a missing elderly male with Dementia who had walked away from family at the Red Lobster on 9th Ave.  This is a heavily congested area, with many locations that would have been a nightmare to search, sort of a needle in a haystack type situation.  He could have been inside any number of stores in Cordova Mall, any area of Sacred Heart Hospital, or parking garages, etc...  Thankfully, he was enrolled in Project Lifesaver!!!  An ESAR Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist was able to pick up the signal as he was driving into the area.  The missing person had crossed two very busy roadways, and was found near the McDonald's on Airport Blvd, near the Sam's Club.  He was recovered within minutes, and returned to his family without incident.

This is the 4th Project Lifesaver rescue within a couple of months.  If you know of anyone with a wandering condition (Autism, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Traumatic Brain Injury, or related), please have them enroll with Project Lifesaver.