The attention of the nation continues to be focused on the mountains of Washington State where an Erie County native is still missing.  It's been nine days since Samantha Sayers disappeared while on a hike in the rugged Vesper Peak region.

      

Some local residents who are very interested in the search and rescue efforts are members of the northwestern Pennsylvania K-9 Search and Rescue Team. They know all about the hard work, the care, and the frustration the searchers in Washington are experiencing.

 

 Adam Gatti and Michelle Eaton know what it's like to turn a nightmare into a very happy ending. They are members of the local search and rescue team.  The organization has 17 members with trained search dogs. There's more dogs in the group than handlers.
    

A search dog, with it's incredible sense of smell, can lead rescuers directly to a missing person, which is much better than relying on the human eye.But, the search and rescue team relies on other methods than man's best friend.  The group has a boat for water search and rescue. It’s latest acquisition is a drone.  One member is FAA certified to operate it.
    

The group averages about 20 search missions a year.  Members include firefighters and physicians.
However, anyone interested in experiencing the satisfaction of public service is invited to join.

 

"We'd like to add people that want to help their community and are willing to put in some hard work.  We can teach you the rest.  We're all volunteer.  It is a fair amount of time, but it's very rewarding.  When you get to see a family reunited with their missing loved one, it's great,” Gatti said.

 

Anyone interested in joining the group can get more information by logging onto the group’s website, www.nwpak9sar.org