In a continuation of Member’s stories, this one is from Justin King. Justin has been with the organization at every level he can, always jumping in when asked, and always been professional and reliable.
Starting at about age 5, I can remember my parents taking me camping in the mountains. I remember riding my first ATV, somewhere around the age of 10, so I am certainly no stranger to the mountains. I’ve been hiking them, biking them, and off-roading them essentially my entire life.
My interest with Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery began shortly after purchasing a 1999 Jeep TJ. I sold my motorcycle after my 3rd near death experience with un-attentive drivers running stop lights, and couldn’t be happier with where that decision has landed me in life! I started noticing this group being mentioned on facebook forums, when people would get stuck. So, I started following their activity thinking that was really neat. Here’s this group of people that take time out of their lives to go help others, something I’m no stranger to. I’ve been involved with the City of Loveland’s Emergency Operations Center for almost 11 years now.
After a couple years of the TJ, and longing for that upgrade I’ve always wanted, a Jeep Rubicon, I finally rescued a 2015 JK “pavement princess” from the dealer’s lot in Fort Collins; such a shame to have only road miles on such a capable rig. Not one scratch underneath it!
By now, my interest in the 4x4 rescue group was really peaking. I had reached out to Matt Radder a few times, and we chatted about what this was all about. Seeing how quickly it was growing, and hearing about these off-road recovery classes being offered by an I4WDTA trainer, I knew this was something I had to do! I get to help other people, better my skills, and go off-roading with some of the highest trained and nicest people you can ever ask to be around… I immediately signed up for Advanced Membership.
After completing the Basic Recovery Skills Level 1 class, I just had to take Advanced Recovery skills Level 2; Best money I’ve spent in a while to take my personal abilities in the backcountry to the next level! I always knew how to pull some line out and hit the button on the winch controller, but I had no idea how to actually rig a vehicle, calculate loads, and operate all this stuff safely. Learning how to do this alone was gold to me!
One of my first recoveries that I lead was a high-profile operation that came in from Gilpin County Sheriff’s office. Lots of eyes watching the organization… NO PRESSURE RIGHT?! This couple had been stranded on the Miner’s Gulch loop on Yankee Hill for 72 hours by the time the call got to us. I departed Loveland at about 6 PM on a Tuesday evening, and we had the team on the trail by 8:30 PM. It took us quite a while to locate the people stuck, with some creativity of air horn blasts hoping for a response. Finally locating them we were beginning our recovery operation at 10 PM when ultimately, that vehicle was refusing to come out nicely. I had to make a leadership decision to halt operations and recover the victims, which took quite a bit of convincing, to get them to leave their vehicle behind.
Little did I know how much that decision, was about to change my involvement in the organization.
Shortly after that, I was approached to be on the Search and Rescue Emergency Support team. Between ICS 100, 200, 700, 800; Wilderness First Aid, AED/CPR, etc etc… I was more than qualified for it and was informed by the BOD, that I was being asked to get in on the ground floor to help build this next level of the organization. The thrill of using a hobby and passion of mine, to potentially save someone’s life was a no brainer. I was in!
As we’re getting mission ready, I’ve been on multiple recoveries. Some high profile like the world-wide attention we got from the wreck on Radical Hill, to a couple down along I-70 on Argentine pass, Yankee Hill, and even a few up north in the Buckhorn Canyon and Red Feather Lakes Area.
If you have a passion to help others, receive recovery training by one of the best instructors in the world, and go wheeling with some of the best people you will ever meet. Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery is exactly what you need!
I hope to see your name on the roster some day!
If this sounds like something you would enjoy. Please join us. We emphasize training and teamwork and provide both. Please explore our membership link on our website, and see what level appeals to you most.
Feel free to contact the BOD with further questions or if you would like a representative come speak to your organization or club.