Stella Gives Back concert raises $30K for Grand County Search and Rescue |

Stella Gives Back concert raises $30K for Grand County Search and Rescue

Diana Lyn Rau
Grand County Search and Rescue
Grand County Search and Rescue in action.
Grand County Search and Rescue/Courtesy Photo

It was raining lightly at the Rendezvous Event Center on Saturday, Aug. 13 during the fundraiser for Grand County Search and Rescue, Stella Gives Back, but the music was fantastic. Tara Rose, Andy Sydow Band and Slopeside kept listeners either jumping with rhythm or sitting back out of the rain and taking in the sounds.

Who cares about the rain? Grand County Search and Rescue deals with rain, snow, tough underbrush and so much more when they are out on a rescue. But they keep on track until they find their objective as happened in the story behind the Stella Gives Back Concert.

You’ve probably heard that amazing story — the unexpected storm dropping almost a foot of snow on two brothers during their annual backpacking trip last September, the call for help these experienced backcountry travelers never thought they would have to make, and the unconditional response from Grand County Search and Rescue.

But the brothers’ scared dog, Stella, ran off. After hours of calling, they had to seek safety without her. Search and rescue members rallied after five heartbreaking days to go back, and, in a mission not done before, give their ultimate and search for Stella. Against all hope, they found her and reunited the dog with the brothers. It was a testament to the dedication, sacrifice, tenacity and perseverance of the team and the brothers found their way to give back through the band they were both a part of.

The nonprofit Grand County Search and Rescue has served Grand County to provide backcountry search and rescue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in all weather since 1985. Everyone is a volunteer and relies on outside support for their needs — technical rescue gear, motorized transport machinery, medical gear, trucks and extensive training. Search and rescue never charges for their services.

“Your support goes toward technical gear like ropes and pulleys, carabineers, harnesses, acquiring and maintaining critical transport equipment like snowmobiles and ATVs, survival gear and supplies,” says search and rescue member Liz Agostin. “The maintenance and replacement of these items is ongoing so the team can provide safe and reliable service. Some of the team’s bigger intermediate-term needs include the ability to provide psychological care for our volunteers after critical or traumatic incidents; replacing the 25-year-old Mobile Command Vehicle, which is no longer viable, and caught on fire on its last mission; and completing the 35-foot-tall Paul Robertson Rescue Tower, which allows for training on vertical technical rescue skills.”

Search and rescue completed 60 backcountry rescue missions in 2021. As of August 2022, they have completed 35 rescue missions. In one week last month they had eight missions totaling over 400 hours of volunteer time. To enable that type of performance, the team has engaged in over 10,000 volunteer hours of training, mission time, maintenance, public outreach and administration in the last year.

Despite the bad weather, people came to Stella Gives Back to show their appreciation. Grand County Search and Rescue team members expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the generous sponsors and everyone who bought tickets, drinks and silent auction items or donated online. They were able to raise almost money to finish out the new mobile command vehicle.

Anyone still wishing to show support can do so anytime at GCSAR thanks all who helped in every way, again.

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