By Natalie Zarowny
When a person goes missing, time is precious.
And having trained professionals on scene to search for that missing person is invaluable.
The Mercer County Search and Rescue Team was formed just a year ago.
And Sunday, the group was brushing up on their skills through the roads, fields, and even in the woods
"With trained ground searchers you can have about an 80 to 82% success rate," said Gary Heard, commander of the group.
They're a group of about 40, mostly retired volunteers.
To be prepared for the worst; when a person goes missing.
"There comes a time in our lives when either an elderly person or a hunter, or a small child wanders off and we know how that fear is with parents, we know how that fear is with loved ones," said Heard.
The first team to go out is the ground pounders.
Traveling on foot, they first determine critical separation, which is how far apart you can be to an object and still recognize it.
For this exercise, the objects are thirteen playing cards.
"You maintain those distances and maintain an organized search through an area and it's surprising what you can find during the day and even at night," said ground pounder Mike Millar.
Then come the searchers on horseback.
The riders are looking for lost creatures in the brush, like a stuffed animal ghost.
"They'll pick up on little subtle movements in the timber, whatever, that we may not pick up on. And so we'll kind of watch them and watch their surroundings to see if we can find what we need to," said Ron King, one of the horseback riders.
Though they cover a lot of ground, and aren't paid for what they do, it's the reward of helping the community that makes it all worth it.
"I've sought out opportunities to serve the community and this is one that came up," said Millar.
While the search and rescue team hasn't had to go out on many missions, they said that's not the point.
It's the peace of mind they give the community, knowing they're there, and ready if needed.