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Sunday, Sep. 21, 2014

New search and rescue team forming

Monday, April 4, 2005

VANDUSER -- Years ago Scott County had the sheriff's posse, and now Jim Duck of Vanduser is on a mission to form a similar volunteer search and rescue team.

This time around they're called the Outback Riders.

"A couple of friends and I were talking about how there's no longer an organized posse anymore," Duck said. "And the truth is we need something like that in the area."

So Duck, who is a volunteer safety officer for Vanduser Fire Department, started checking and applied for federal and state identification numbers to make the nonprofit organization legitimate.

"Basically what we're going to do is help with missing adults and children or if somebody has livestock get loose -- things of that type," Duck explained. Earlier this week Duck met with Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter to discuss the possibility of the organization assisting the local law enforcement.

"This is something I'm certainly interested in and we're going to try and help any way we can," Walter said.

Duck's ties with volunteering at the Vanduser Fire Department and his attempts to hold fund-raisers and obtain a federal identification number are reasons Walter believes Duck's intentions are genuine, he said.

"He doesn't sound like he's looking for any glory," Walter said. 'He's a safety officer, a father of two and he works for Tetra-Pak in Sikeston."

The service of the Outback Riders ("We're outdoors and we're riding horseback," Duck said about how the group was named.) service isn't limited to Scott County. Duck said Stoddard, New Madrid, Mississippi and Cape Girardeau counties are also included in the service area.

Currently Duck said about 17 to 20 riders belong to the gro

up, and he is looking for more. Duck serves as president of the group while Elizabeth Shriver is vice president and Mike Hargrove is the secretary.

Among members of the group are a dispatcher, a couple of farmers, a school teacher and volunteer firefighters, Duck said.

"We all have jobs and most of us ride or own horses," Duck said.

But membership isn't strictly to horse riders and owners, Duck said. Anyone with four-wheelers or willing to do foot patrol is also welcome, he said.

"Anyone who's willing and able is welcome," Duck said.

Although no real qualifications are required, one goal is to get everyone certifed as First Responders, which would enable them to do basic first aid, Duck said.

During his fire training, Duck said he took a class that taught how to break up and number or color-code the search teams as well as the basic medical steps to take in case someone comes across a victim.

There are no membership fees and it's run strictly on fund-raisers and donations, Duck said, adding he has not received any funding or donations yet.

Both Walter and Duck said the Outback Riders could possibly work with a local K-9 rescue and search team. And eventually Duck said he would like the group to meet monthly, but right now the group is still forming.

Details such as how the organization would work and how and when they would be called on for assistance are things that will still have to be looked at, Walter said.

"We don't want to just call out a bunch of people who are not trained, but we always need volunteers and everything he's telling me says he's on the right path," Walter said.

Walter said he plans on meeting with Duck again to work out some of those kinks.

"I think his heart is in the right place and he's wanting to do some good," Walter said. "And if we ever need the help, it's nice to know we've got it." Anyone interested in joining the Outback Riders or would like to make a donation can contact Duck at outback-riders@hotmail.com or (573) 471

-0416.