Do you love the outdoors? Do you like working to benefit your neighbors? Then the Tehachapi Mountain Search and Rescue would like to invite you to join us.

“If helping your community members sounds like something you would be interested in, while enjoying the great outdoors, please join us at our monthly meetings where like-minded men and women gather to help others,” volunteer Capt. Howie Long said.

The unit members are trained in the art of man-tracking, some repelling/high angle rescue, search theory, first aid and CPR in a team environment.

The TMSAR unit works under the auspices of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. When called we perform a variety of search and rescue tasks, including but not limited to: searching for lost hikers, lost children, disoriented elders, downed aircraft and stranded motorists. Many times we are called upon to assist with large-scale disasters like the Erskine Fire (July 2015) and the Highway 58 mud slide in October 2015, and most recently, the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif.

"We meet and train once a month to keep our skills up and/or learn new ones," Long said.

But that is not all.

The TMSAR unit has been called out to assist the Kern County Sheriff’s Office for things like evidence searches and community events like the Gran Fondo cycling event.

We have a strong unit and many of our dedicated members have already put in 20-plus years in benefit of our community. Many of them are seeing the need to hand these talents off to others, before they retire.

Anyone 18 years and older is invited to come join this all volunteer unit, said Bobby Podratz, a 29-year member.

“Come on into a couple of our meetings, We meet for about an hour and then usually do some training,” Long said, "and see if we are a group you'd like to join."

The men and women of this all-volunteer unit meet the second Saturday of each month in Tehachapi at the Golden Hills Community Service District Office, at 21415 Reeves St., at 8 a.m.

If you have any questions, call 661-972-9102 and volunteer unit member Lt. Kathleen Kline will get your questions answered. You can also reach out to Kern County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Coordinator Sgt. Zack Bittle at 661-392-6092 or

Kathleen Kline is public relations officer for Tehachapi Mountain Search and Rescue.