This is a magnificent group of deeply dedicated, skilled people. As their Interfaith Chaplain, I was welcomed with great warmth and a true sense of community. The dogs are highly trained, well-loved and excellent care is taken of them and of the horses. In searching for missing persons, Peace River K9 Search and Rescue is as hard-working as it's possible to be, and steps in to provide hope and support to loved ones of the missing no matter the risk to themselves. These hazards include extreme heat, poisonous snakes, alligators and dangerous neighborhoods. Their courage and selflessness in amazingly difficult conditions never ceases to impress me, and my respect for them is enormous.
What do I hear the most: This team is all volunteer? All of it? You drive all the way and spend all this time for free? Yep, we do this because we believe in what we do. We want to help others! For me this work is addicting and I love every minute, the sweat, the dirt, bugs, and the people on the team. I first started as a mounted SAR person with my horse. When I found out that the need for horses was not as much as the dogs, I asked if I could bring my rescue terrier dog. Mike said yes and he worked with us until we were able to get a certification. Now with Mike and the team's help I am training our new Malinois puppy for SAR. I feel very lucky to be able to volunteer and most of all to be a part of this awesome team PRSAR.
Peace River K9 Search and Rescue is a wonderful, local organization that provides a much needed service. These fearless volunteers donate hours of time developing skills needed to search and recover missing persons. They fearlessly and tirelessly support local law enforcement and families in need. PRSAR provides public education and awareness to the community in a variety of areas from abduction and suicide prevention to K9 training and skills. These volunteers are true heroes.
In 2015 I bought a Jeep Wrangler and found a local group of other Wrangler owners to hang out with. One time we got together and some people showed up with dogs. They explained that they did search and rescue work and needed folks with Jeeps to help out on some searches. They asked that anyone interested be willing to get training in at least basic search and rescue areas. Shortly after that my daughter got a puppy. A few weeks later we joined the team to help with a fundraiser and someone talked my daughter into turning her pup into a search dog. Fast forward several months and another team member had rescued a dog that needed someone who would be around a lot more than his work hours allowed. I took her in and shortly thereafter started training her, as well. I found something in PRSAR that I'd been missing since my days in the Marine Corps -- a camaraderie and esprit de corps, a devotion to duty and each other that cracked my shell a little. These people are as much my family as my wife and kids. And they brought Hope, my dog, into my life, and she makes an incredible difference for me. We've been a part of many searches now. I know that this team makes a difference to the community -- a community that seems to be growing from just Southwest Florida to include much of the state and even places out of state. We are self-funded for the most part. We don't ask for money to take part in searches, so each team member pays for their own gas when we travel to a site. It's worth it though. We've found people -- living and dead -- and brought closure to families that were hurting and carrying that big question -- where is my loved one? Bringing that closure is why I, and the rest of the team, gets up early to work with our dogs, goes out to train and work in all sorts of weather and environments. I love these people and the work they do and I'm very proud to be a part of it.
My name is Grace. Two years ago I was homeless living on the street in Punta Gorda FL. The Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County saved my life, and today I am returning the favor to those in need. I have become a certified K-9 Search Dog working with Peace River Search and Rescue to recover missing adults and children. Our group of dedicated professionals provides rescue services to local, state, federal law enforcement, military and private families. We are ready 24 hours a day, everyday. And, we do it free of charge.
"So others may live"
I am Arpad Vass. I have a Ph.D. in Forensic Anthropology and have spent the last 15 -20 years working on the hardest technical problem of my career – finding clandestine graves. I was on one of these cases in Louisiana when I met Cali and Nixie, and their human associates, Mike and Julie, from Peace River K9 Search and Rescue. This was yet another of those extremely difficult cases where we were looking for a homicide victim from 30+ years ago in a large search area next to the Mississippi river with constant flooding, yearly silt deposition, giant mosquitos, swampy soil and dense undergrowth. After driving all the way from Central Florida at their own expense, it took less than 2 days for Cali and Nixie to find the area of interest. Since then I have worked several cases with Peace River K9 Search and Rescue and find them to be the most experienced, well trained and dedicated organization I have ever had the pleasure to work with. What is most exceptional about their organization is that they are open to new ideas and techniques – they want to learn and constantly strive for improvement. They are 100% dedicated on behalf of the families who request their assistance (victims and their families always come first). They have spent an immense amount of their own time and resources pulling together the right team complete with grief counselors, technology experts, searchers, handlers and trainers – literally the best of the best. Law enforcement organizations could learn a lot from spending time with Peace River SAR. Considering that they voluntarily go out in the worse possible environments braving man-made, environmental, and natural hazards with their only motivation being one of finding someone who is lost, missing or the victim of a tragedy, I cannot imagine that there is a non-profit organization which is ‘greater’ than Peace River Search and Rescue.
Dr. Arpad Vass
I have met these people and they have an amazing strength and energy. Their K 9 are well trained and very focused. We participated during a search in the summer and they organized all the spontaneous volunteers quickly and professionally and then went with them into the search. Truly an incredible group of dedicated and compassionate volunteers!
I visited the group one day last summer with my beloved friend Reverend Sarah, it was a training day, and I was amazed by the high level of organisation and the state-of-the-art techniques Peace River K9 employ in their work. Everyone was kind, compassionate and driven by their passion to fulfil their mission. The dogs were highly trained and they looked so seriously focused on their targets, better than me actually.
I have met persons of the Peace River K9 Search and Rescue Asso. Inc. They are very dedicated
people and work very hard in their endeavor to help the public and authorities when disaster
strikes whether large or small. The service these folks provide is impossible to measure in terms of value to those affected. Ask any Sheriff what help these trainers with their bright
dogs can accomplish . Also ask about the PRIDE carried by Peace River K9 members carry.
Wayne Sherwin, Bowie, Maryland
I started volunteering with Peace River K9 Search and Rescue in June of 2016. Very quickly I realized the high level of dedication and commitment that was exhibited by the entire team. Mike Hadsell, the founder, has been involved with K9 training most of his life and his ability to impart this knowledge to others is amazing. Our team goes on searches on a regular basis and not only do we focus on our mission but we also provide comfort and support for any family or friends that are present. I am very proud to be a part of Peace River Search and Rescue.