Kamloops Search and Rescue members-turned-filmmakers appeal for public's help - InfoNews

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Kamloops Search and Rescue members-turned-filmmakers appeal for public's help

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
May 30, 2019 - 3:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Two members of Kamloops Search and Rescue are asking for the public’s help in supporting their documentaries.

Jenn Stahn and her husband Anthony have been volunteers with the organization and dug out two stories they think everyone should understand. They have proposed Unfound and Sit, Stay, Search for the Telus Story Hive competition, which will award $50,000 to 30 different projects across British Columbia and Alberta.

Unfound hopes to bring attention to the mental health struggles that impact the Search and Rescue members. The couple recognized the toll on the front line workers when a search doesn’t bring any answers, and after meeting other Search and Rescue teams across the province, they realized they were not the only ones.

“We noticed a distinct theme that when these teams start to get together, talk often turns towards the cases that each of them have dealt with in the past that are still unresolved, how it sticks with them, and how they can’t drive by a place without looking still and thinking about the task,” Jenn says.

The Critical Incident Stress Management program is a peer run program within B.C. Search and Rescue, but Jenn hopes more funding and focus is given to the volunteers.

"Even though we’re emergency responders, we’re not first responders in the same way as the ambulance or fire are, so theirs are the groups that tend to get the recognition and the funding for those kind of programs," she says. She hopes that the documentary will open a discussion within the community about the importance of mental health support systems.

Sit, Stay, Search will follow the training and validation of three Search and Rescue dogs in various stages of their career. The training for the dogs is intense, rigourous, and costly. Jenn says it’s very difficult for owners to pass the tests and that only 13 dogs are currently validated in British Columbia, with two of those dogs working in Kamloops.

“We're lucky in Kamloops having two validated dogs, so lots of our searches do incorporate them,” says Jenn.

The documentary will follow a dog and her handler who are currently validated, one undergoing the tests to become validated, and a puppy who will be starting the process from scratch. 

“Normally you want to start from a puppy to assess if they have the natural instincts, that's usually what they do at the puppy stage up to 18 months," she says.

Voting is open for the documentaries until Friday, May 31 at noon on Telus Story Hive. Voters can vote for five documentaries a day, and Jenn hopes that each of her documentaries will get the funding they need.

Here’s where you can vote, and it only takes a few clicks.

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