Lamberts plan SOS for VSAR annual fundraiser. (Contributed)

Okanagan family gives back to Search and Rescue with fundraiser

Jody and Cheryl Lambert are organizing an annual golf tournament and a GoFundMe page to fundraiser for Vernon Search and Rescue.

On January 21, 2018, Brett Lambert, son of Jody and Cheryl Lambert, was snowmobiling in the Okanagan back country when he got separated from his group.

After he had been missing with no contact for two hours Vernon Search and Rescue were mobilized through the instruction of the local 9-1-1 dispatcher. He was missing throughout the night but was located soon the next day and was rescued by helicopter.

“You always hear about something like Search and Rescue and other volunteer groups but until it hits that close to home,” said Jody, as his wife finished his sentence. “You realize that the resource is needed to safely search for people,” said Cheryl. “The very next day, I thought we needed to do something.”

In an effort to give back, the Lamberts are organizing a golf tournament as a fundraiser called SOS (Supporting Our Searchers) for Vernon Search and Rescue.

“I felt the [acronym] S.O.S. was fitting for what we went through,” said Cheryl, who described the night as being an emotional roller-coaster. “It was the toughest night of our lives.”

Trevor Honigman, the public information officer for the Vernon SAR unit, said that they are grateful for any fundraising help as SAR work is made possible through efforts such as this.

“Search and Rescue is completely volunteer and we fundraise for all of our gear, our equipment and all of our training and we always need funds but with the number of people coming to Vernon and to the Okanagan in general, it increases the need for more vehicles, more personnel, more training to take care of more people who are getting injured and lost in the outdoors and in the wilderness,” he said.

“Telling the Lamberts that Brett was going to be brought home was a pivotal moment for them and the fundraiser that they’re putting together is just a way of them saying thank you to search and rescue, and it’s great.”

As spots in the tournament are limited, the couple has also begun a GoFundMe page.

“They’re local people who are giving their time and putting their lives at risk to a degree just because they want to help other people,” said Cheryl. “We want them to keep doing that and we need their services and we just want to support them in whatever they need to continue doing that for us. If we didn’t have them, I don’t know where a lot of our people would be, honestly.”

“I think it’s pretty obvious where a lot of them would be,” added Jody. “They wouldn’t be found.”

For more information or to donate, visit gofundme.com/f/sosvsar.

Related: Search crew, snowmobile club cooperation key for winter rescues

Related: Search and Rescue home sought

Related: Search and rescue seeks building funds

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