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Pennington County Search and Rescue member James Dietz, left, and U.S. Park Ranger Tyson Nehring hike toward Sage Creek Campground in 2016 after helping to locate two lost hikers in Badlands National Park.

For James Dietz, a good day off from his day job as an emergency-room nurse is spent rappelling down a canyon wall, hiking across rough terrain or rescuing people trapped in vehicles.

“I feel like this is what I was made to do,” he said.

Dietz is part of the all-volunteer Pennington County Search & Rescue Team. They have about 30 members, and they’re looking for more.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 140 E. Main St. N, the team will host a recruitment event. It’s a chance for interested members of the public to learn what the Search & Rescue Team does and what it takes to be a member.

Dietz said prospective members must apply and go through a background check and interview process. Applicants who are selected to join the team undergo training as frequently as once a week for the first year.

Team members respond to about 80 calls per year on average. This year, team members have responded to 120 calls and logged a combined total of 5,700 hours.

Dietz said the team likes to have a roster of 30 to 50 members so that there is always a sufficient number to respond to calls.

“We’re looking for people who have the time and the drive to help their community,” Dietz said.

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Contact Seth Tupper at seth.tupper@rapidcityjournal.com

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