A Tribute to SAR Moms

A couple weeks ago I got an email from Bobbi Buchanan asking what I thought of the idea of profiling SAR moms on social media in celebration of Mother’s Day. Awesome idea! (Bobbi is VP and looks after social media for SARSAV – Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers.)



The moms who responded to our emails gave really great answers. Some were too long for a simple post on Facebook or Twitter, but so good we wanted to share them in whole. Here’s what they had to say.

Lori Johnstone

Lori laughed out loud at the questions we asked. As the new mom of not-quite-1-year-old twins, Ben and Emma, we can understand why! Not to mention that her husband Dale is also a very active member of Saskatoon Search and Rescue. Lori says, “I love the questions but haven’t found a balance with SAR and family, at least not yet. I think it is great we have a professional volunteer group to help find our children when they go ‘exploring’ on their own!”

Christine Picard

Christine, mom to two boy ages 3 and 5, is the Training Officer with North Corman Park Search and Rescue.


Christine and her boys

“I have always explained to my boys that I am helping find lost and scared people. (Typically I try and tell them it’s kids their age so they can relate.) I tell them I will always be there for them but when another little boy or girl is scared and lost they need my help more at that time. They really understand because we talk a lot about it and they always tell me they are proud of me. Volunteer your time to help those who are in need. What better lesson to teach your children by example?

I also involve my boys by bringing them out to help me set up for training exercises. They can see what I do and get to feel like they are helping. My 5 year old has already told me he will be doing it when he is older.

It helps having family and friends as a support system so when a call comes in there’s someone they and I trust to be there for them when I can’t.”

Sherry Buller



Sherry and her daughter, Ashley, have very recently completed the Basic Searcher training with Saskatoon Search and Rescue. During the past four months Sherry has become a very active and involved member!

“I can’t imagine anything much more heart wrenching than having a loved one go missing. Knowing someone is willing to take the time to help search gives people hope. Being part of SAR gives me the chance to help other moms; everyone is someone’s child.

My youngest daughter, who is nearly 18, is the whole reason I became involved with SAR. She wanted to join the group. When I happened to meet the group one day, I asked how to become involved. I took her to the next meeting and I was hooked. We both love to go to any event or help out whenever we can.

Being a single working mom, taking classes and being involved in the community was harder when my kids were little. I brought them to anything I was involved in whenever I could. Now that they are nearly all grown up it is easier but there is rarely enough time in the day. I make sure before bed to plan the next day and set goals and then each morning to prioritize my time. It is like hitting my Re-“FRESH” button (for me that means thinking about finances, relationships, education, spirit and health). If I take care of those things, the important stuff is covered. SAR is part of many of those things for me – especially my spirit. It makes me feel like I can offer something of value to the community. Balancing everything is giving your life value and not wasting or regretting what you did with it. 

If your life can accommodate making even a small commitment, go for it and get started! The things you learn, teach your kids.

For me being a mom and a SAR member and having my daughter involved means we can spend time together – usually we are in separate teams during exercises and she really appreciates that – but we talk about the group and the activities regularly. We get to do things out of the ordinary and it adds other people into our lives. Being mom and a member, makes my family life better!”

Rebecca Basset

Rebecca has been a member of Saskatoon Search and Rescue for several years and has always been a very active board member. She presently fulfills both the Treasurer and Training Director roles.

Rebecca and family

Rebecca and family

“As a mother – there is no greater fear than losing your child (or any family member for that reason). Being a part of SAR means that I can help find and return that child or loved one for someone else.   

My kids (Bailey 7 yrs and Morgan 6 yrs) think it is so cool and heroic that I am in Search and Rescue. They have experienced already a few incidents where I would have to leave our family event to go to a search and they are completely supportive. We talk often about how someone’s family needs help to find the missing person and how important it is that people who know how to search go and help. 

They are also starting to learn a lot about the ‘essentials’ and being prepared when going out on our daily adventures. Their backpacks are always stocked and they know what they need to add. And what is super cool is that they want to share it with their classmates as a show-and-tell piece. We also try to watch kids shows that show stories of kids getting lost and we critique their mistakes and their smart choices in the movie. My kids joined Scouts and I hope they keep up with it over the years because I think they will learn a lot of skills essential to an adventurous lifestyle there too. 

Lastly I think that my kids are understanding more what it means to volunteer and commit. Sure they have seen me miss out on some things – but they are also seeing dedication, enthusiasm, and how important giving back to our community is and what joy it brings me. Those are good life lessons being demonstrated. 

I am very fortunate because my family has FINALLY accepted that being a member of SAR is extremely important to me and that its not just a phase. I have skipped out on many family things for training or activations and I have always had the support when it is needed. I probably give too much of my own free time to Executive duties and extracurricular things within the Chapter… but that was a choice I made from the beginning. Without their support it would be a very different experience. Communication with them is the key and explaining what drives me to give so much to this chapter helps them to accept my absence sometimes. SAR response ties closely with my work life (as a First Aid Instructor) and my classes are always aware that I am responsible for the activation call out if it happens in class and have always been supportive of that. It would be very difficult to not want to leave a class to join a search but I just remind myself that I can always go later when class is done.  

SAR takes time and energy. Period. The search and successful find of a missing person is the glory. But without the training and time spent developing our skills and team cohesiveness – that successful find may never happen. But being a part of SAR is far more about the entire experience then that one search we may go on. My life has completely changed because of SAR. I seek adventure in a way that I never considered before, am inspired to get my family active and outdoors, and have learnt things that I never, ever, ever, would have otherwise! And more importantly – the members of SAR become your family. We have done more with SAR families in pursuit of our adventurous life then with anyone else in our social network. I think as our families grow – so too will our adventures – and I cannot wait! All the time and energy is worth that too!”

compiled by Shelley Ballard-McKinlay

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