Grand County Search and Rescue honors former Sheriff Johnson
Grand County Search and Rescue presented outgoing Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson with an Honorary Lifetime Membership award during a ceremony on Friday night, Jan. 9, at Brickhouse 40 in Granby.
“GCSAR has a membership category that is awarded by the Team to individuals who have provided outstanding, long-term public service which has enabled GCSAR to fulfill its goal of saving lives in our mountain environment,” said Greg Foley, GCSAR training director and longtime Board member, during the presentation. “The team has only voted this honor on a handful of people since 1985, usually on the event of a long time member retiring from the team.”
“Rod has been such a great supporter of GCSAR; our Board of Directors felt very strongly we should recognize his contribution to the community in support of our efforts,” GCSAR President John Sanderson said Monday.
Johnson returned the favor by presenting Grand County Search and Rescue with a 30th Anniversary award. GCSAR was officially founded in 1985.
Johnson’s term in office, which began in 1993, ended Tuesday morning when Sheriff Brett Schroetlin was sworn in.
The remainder of Foley’s presentation follows:
“Tonight, and going forward, we as a team will honor Sheriff Rod Johnson as a teammate who has staunchly supported our organization since 1993. Rod has provided an environment that has allowed Grand County SAR to strengthen and mature into an organization that is respected on a regional and national level. Under his direction and guidance the Grand County backcountry has been a safer place for residents and visitors. The number of lives saved, persons rescued and families given closure on the death of a loved one during Rod’s tenure are too many to count.
“We all know that the Sheriff is responsible for search and rescue in each County. But that doesn’t mean that a Sheriff must foster and respect the volunteers that normally provide this service. Rod and our team administration haven’t always seen eye to eye, but because of the mutual respect that has always been present compromise that was beneficial to all, especially to our “customers”, has been the norm.
“Under Sheriff Johnson, our annual budget has been vastly increased and his department has provided additional monetary and administrative support. He has always had our backs when dealing with the Commissioners and other outside agencies that affect our ability to provide search and rescue services.
“Besides enabling our team, Rod served for many years on the Colorado SAR Advisory Council where he influenced Search and rescue best practices statewide.
“Rod’s support was especially evident when he would show up at a mission. He would ask for details, maybe provide some sage advice, add in a story or two (or three), but always encourage us to do our job the best that we could with the resources we had. And then thank us when we were done. I could feel that he was especially thankful on those tough missions, the missions that affect us emotionally as volunteers.
“I know that I speak for every member of Grand County Search and Rescue as I present this Honorary Lifetime Membership award to our friend and teammate and wish him good health, happiness and continued success down whatever path he will travel.”
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