Teen search and rescue group forming in Havelock

Published: Monday, June 16, 2014 at 04:56 PM.

Branaman would like to coordinate growth of the group through existing law enforcement, fire and rescue departments and Community Emergency Response Teams.

“We are wanting to work with local agencies so that local agencies are familiar with us and they realize that these guys can be counted on,” he said. “They’re not just running around Rambos in the woods. We’re trying to do something that is not just a bunch of kids stomping through the woods. They are going to be a professional organization. They are going to get out there and train with other local agencies so that they can make a difference in their community. We’re not trying to compete. We’re trying to compliment.”

Branaman said he started his search and rescue training as a teen.

“I grew up here. I was a Havelock kid. I got here in 1968 and graduated from Havelock High School in 1976,” Branaman said. “When I was 15 years old I was introduced to an organization called the Civil Air Patrol. I was a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol and we used to go out and rescue folks all the time, so I know what teenagers can do if they are properly led and properly motivated.”

Later, when a Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter flew over, he was inspired to join the Coast Guard.

“That’s how search and rescue got in my blood,” he said.

So far, he has had only a small number of teens show up at the meetings, but one of them, Alexander Messmer, is a regional Young Marine of the Year, and will be a leader in the group.

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