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Wythe County Search and Rescue squads team up

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - The night 3-year-old Josie Burleson went missing in 2019, rescue squads across Wythe County teamed up.

“Pretty much what happened was we got called out that evening, and then sort of throughout the whole process, Lead Mines Rescue and our team came together and we decided that we need a task force to service the county,” said Randall ‘Randy’ Zook with the Christian Aid Ministries Search & Rescue of Virginia.

“The last couple years we’ve had a very big increase when it comes to search and rescue, so we had decided that that’s why we needed to do it; we felt like there was a very big need,” said Lindsey Jackson with the Lead Mines Rescue Squad.

Three of the groups out searching that night in 2019 are forming the Wythe County Search & Rescue Task Force -- an all-volunteer team for water, wilderness, search and rescue operations in the county and surrounding areas.

“We have 64 miles of water, and we also cover the New River Trail, as well as the mountains and stuff like that, so we cover quite a bit,” said Jackson.

The task force combines the Lead Mines Rescue Squad, Christian Aid Ministries Search & Rescue of Virginia and the Southwest Virginia Mounted Search and Rescue.

“I mean, we’re just citizens serving other citizens. So that’s our main goal,” said Zook.

Squad members say having this trained task force will help them streamline operations.

“And we’re just very grateful to be out there serving the community, it’s what we like to do and is what we’re here for,” said Jackson.

Minor details are still being worked out, but soon dispatch calls will go to all task force members.

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