It is 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The Peoria County SAR team surveys Expo Gardens.
"Absolutely if somebody's lost we'll find ‘em,” said Lt. Mark Molleck, who leads the team.
This is only a training exercise. Volunteers must be ready for the real thing and cannot waste a second.
"Time is critical because the more time an individual has, the greater distance they could wander away,” said Scott Garrett.
It is a lesson all too familiar for Garrett.
"It is very personal," he said.
In February 2012, his father, John, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, disappeared and led to the largest organized search and rescue in state history. His body was found a week later.
"Peoria County did not have a search and rescue team, and Peoria County Sheriff's Department saw the need for it. And they formed one, and so I was one of original team members and volunteers," said Garrett.
Now, forty volunteers participate, but that may not be enough.
"We could always use more people. People get worn out in the field and they need to be rehabbed, and we can send more out in the field to work," said Molleck.
Lt. Mark Molleck, leader of the county's SAR team, hopes more people will help fill that void.
Thursday, he led a search and rescue workshop at Illinois Central College North Campus in Peoria. More than 15 people arrived to hear more about the program. People interested in joining the team must live in Peoria County. Currently, the team operates solely on volunteers. All equipment is donated, including "care tracks," a device that tracks missing people.
For information about volunteer or donation opportunities, contact Lt. Mark Molleck at (309) 687-8515.
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