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Berkshire Mountain Search & Rescue is raising funds for a vehicle to get into rough terrain for quicker rescues.

Berkshire Rescue Team Seeks Donations for Vehicle

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Mountain Search and Rescue Team is aiming to raise $14,000 for a utility terrain rescue vehicle that is vital to their operations.
BMSAR is one of only two volunteer search and rescue teams in Massachusetts that are attached to the State Police Special Emergency Response Team, which is of "high value" for the organization.
It serves all of Western Massachusettes and sometimes assist in other parts of the commonwealth.
In order to respond to missing persons in the most efficient way, the team needs a vehicle that can handle rough terrain.
"We don't have a UTV vehicle ourselves, we can rely on the Sheriff's Department if we ever need them, which is good, but time is critical," team President Michael Comeau said. "It's our goal to get one of these vehicles in our own capacity so that when we're on the scene, we're going right down in there into the woods to get the person."
Comeau has gotten a quote for a Polaris Ranger crew cab from Ronnie's Cycle Sales & Service in Adams and made a fundraising page for the vehicle purchase on Facebook. 
The vehicle has many useful features including four-wheel drive, a place to store gear, and a trailer hitch to which a patient transporter can be attached.
BMSAR is looking for donations or a sponsor. Because it takes about three months for the UTV to arrive after being ordered, the team would like to secure funds as soon as possible.
"The sooner the better," Comeau said. "Because in the fall is when everybody is trying to go to the woods and go hiking and the fall time is when we seem to have our highest amount of calls."
Comeau even wrote an email to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg regarding the fundraiser. He is unsure if he will get a response but said it was worth a try.
"BMSAR has been around since 1977," he explained. "Since I took over about, let's say about 11 years ago now, we're constantly evolving, we're constantly getting bigger."
The team currently has a search trailer that is at capacity with equipment and with the help of B&B Micro Manufacturing in Adams and donations, it was able to consult the tiny house manufacturers to construct an additional trailer.
Comeau said that is a great improvement for the team but they still lack a vehicle that can assist them in the terrain.
"If nobody is there with a machine, we're walking to get to the victim when so many times we could use one of these," he added. "To put searchers in, put the search dogs in, we can put them in the back of it with all our gear and just go right away up and get to the person."
In November 2020, BMSAR collaborated with Make-A-Wish Massachusetts to host a fake search and rescue on October Mountain for a young girl with a life-threatening heart condition.  
Comeau said they hope to work with the charity organization again in the future to make the wishes of children interested in rescues come true.

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Elizabeth Freeman Center Launches Rise Together for Safety and Justice

PITTSFIELD, Mass — Elizabeth Freeman Center (EFC) announced the launch of "Rise Together for Safety and Justice," an evolution of their annual Third Thursday Walk a Mile fundraiser. 
Like the previous 10 years, EFC will continue to hold its annual event in September, soliciting the support and participation of local businesses, organizations, and individuals to help raise awareness and support for the work its staff, board and volunteers do every day in domestic and sexual violence prevention and response.
"While our fundraiser theme has changed, our vision remains the same. We envision our community free from domestic and sexual violence in which all people live in safety, with dignity and justice," Executive Director Janis Broderick said. "We have been so grateful for the support of our annual fundraisers that grew each year. We hope that you will continue to support Elizabeth Freeman Center and Rise Together with us."
Rise Together will continue to be a family-friendly, community event, gathering together (as much as public health advisories allow) to walk, march, stroll, dance, and move together against domestic and sexual violence and for safety and justice. The safety of the community is EFC's priority. Like last year, walks will be held throughout Berkshire County for increased accessibility and due to COVID-19 precautions.
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